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Professor Mary McAleese and the Lord Lieutenant of Belfast attend portrait unveiling

Professor Mary McAleese and Dame Fionnuala Jay-O’Boyle, Lord Lieutenant of Belfast, today (Wednesday 9 November) attended the unveiling of the portrait, Garden of Remembrance, at Riddel Hall, Queen’s University Belfast.

Pictured at the portrait unveiling from left to right: Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Greer, Professor Mary McAleese, the Lord Lieutenant Fionnuala Jay-O’Boyle and artist Michelle Rogers

The portrait, by artist Michelle Rogers, depicts the moment when President Mary Mc Aleese and the Queen Elizabeth II paid respects at the Garden of Remembrance during the Queen’s visit to Ireland in 2011. 

On welcoming Professor Mary McAleese, Dame Fionnuala Jay-O’Boyle, Lord Lieutenant of Belfast and artist Michelle Rogers to the special event, the Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Greer commented: “2022 has been a year mixed with celebration and profound sadness. A celebration to mark 70 year reign of Her Majesty and profound sadness as we mourned her passing just a couple of months ago.” 

“As a university we are extremely proud of our links with the royal family. And we are delighted that we can add this special painting to the Queen’s collection.”  

Speaking at the event Professor Mary McAleese said: “This painting commemorates the remarkable visit that The Queen made to Republic of Ireland in 2011, the first time that any British Monarch had set foot on soil in the Republic of Ireland in over 100 years.  

“The legacy she has left us is a legacy of graciousness to each other. What we can accomplish without compromising who we are, what we are or what we believe in. We have enough left over to make good neighbours, and good friends and treat each other with the respect and the love that is the hallmark of good neighbours.” 

Dame Fionnuala Jay-O’Boyle, Lord Lieutenant of Belfast, said: “It is fitting that this picture will hang at Queen’s University, that bears Her Majesty’s name. It is a place of hope, ambition, a place of excellence. A place that today will recognise the recipients of the Platinum Jubilee scholarships created in Her Majesty’s memory.”  

Artist Michelle Rogers talked about her inspiration for the work: “I saw the photograph of the Garden of Remembrance and it was a moment where everything seemed to stop. Allt that history behind them and there they were together, two Heads of States and two mothers thinking about their future, the future of their children and grandchildren. I knew it was a moment I wanted to remember, which is why I started painting it. 

“I am delighted and honoured that it will be displayed here at Queen’s.” 

Following the unveiling of the portrait, the Lord Lieutenant and Vice-Chancellor presented four Platinum Jubilee Scholarships to two undergraduate and two postgraduate students.   


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