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The monarch had quite the comeback when an Irish politician asked about her well-being

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June 28, 2016 11:05 AM

Queen Elizabeth had quite the comeback when an Irish politician asked about her well-being during her first public appearance since the historic Brexit vote on Monday.

As Northern Irish politician Martin McGuiness walked into her room at Hillsborough Castle, Belfast, on Monday, he greeted the monarch, “Hello! Are you well?”

“Thank you very much,” the Queen responded. “I’m still alive!”

The dry reply comes after a difficult few days for her country, which has seen Prime Minister David Cameron resign, the pound hit a 31-year record low and England’s soccer team defeated by Iceland in the European Championships.

“Nice to see you again,” McGuinness, the Deputy First Minister in Northern Ireland continued, to which the Queen replied, “Ah, we’ve been quite busy. There’s been quite a lot going on.”

Queen Elizabeth greets Martin McGuiness
Getty

McGuinness, who picked up on the possibility the Queen was referring to the political fall-out following the Brexit vote, agreed, “There’s a lot of things happening at the moment.”

“I’ve had two birthdays, so we’ve been quite busy,” she continued, keeping the conversation to a safe subject while the cameras were rolling.

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The Queen traveled to Northern Ireland Monday alongside husband Prince Philip as the couple tours the four corners of the United Kingdom in honor of her landmark 90th birthday.

The meeting between the Queen and McGuiness was an important one as McGuiness is a former member of the IRA, which led a campaign against British rule. The Queen’s uncle Earl Mountbatten was murdered by the IRA in a bomb attack in 1979.

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The two also met in 2012 during the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee trip.

The meeting is another meaningful step in the peace process that began with the Good Friday Agreement of 1998, which brought 30 years of sectarian violence to an end.

“I am an unapologetic Irish republican and I value very much the contribution Queen Elizabeth has made to the peace process and to reconciliation,” McGuinness said after Monday’s meeting.

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