When Queen Elizabeth II visited the Republic of Ireland in 2011, it was a moment of sensitivity and reconciliation, signalling the seismic shift towards longer-lasting peace between Ireland and the UK.

Beginning her speech in Irish, the Queen made every effort to unify two countries with a difficult and complex history.

“With the benefit of historical hindsight, we can all see things which we would wish had been done differently or not at all,” she told guests at a state dinner in Dublin Castle.

However, in this week of her death, as King Charles III ascends the British throne, the relationship between our islands, among those north and south of the Irish border, remains fractious.

As the King arrived at his official residence of Hillsborough Castle near Belfast on Tuesday – his fortieth trip to Northern Ireland – former Irish Taoiseach John Bruton told Sky News, “in many ways, intergovernmental relations between Britain and Ireland are much, much worse now, than they were when the Queen visited in [2011], and that needs to be repaired by the two governments”.

Brexit has maimed relations across the UK, but in particular has dug up dormant hostilities between communities in Northern Ireland.

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