Queen visits Belfast set of 'Game of Thrones'
By The Associated Press
BELFAST, Northern Ireland - For Queen Elizabeth II, one throne is enough.
The United Kingdom's 88-year-old monarch toured the Belfast sets of the hit HBO series "Game of Thrones" and met many of its stars Tuesday beside the show's sword-covered seat of power, the Iron Throne.
Unlike many visitors to Belfast's Titanic Studios, the monarch declined to try out the throne created for the ruler of the mythical Seven Kingdoms and legendarily forged from a thousand swords. Instead, she received a miniature model as a gift.
"Game of Thrones" creators David Benioff and Dan Weiss escorted the monarch through the show's armoury, costume design and storage, and sprawling sets used to shoot the program's interior scenes and perilous ice-cliff ascents — all part of the biggest TV production ever mounted in Europe.
The real-life head of the House of Windsor talked with actors from the show's rival royal houses, the Lannisters and the Starks.
"She kept commenting on how uncomfortable the throne looked. That was funny," said Maisie Williams, the 17-year-old English actress who plays Arya Stark.
"I don't think I've ever been as nervous to meet anybody," said Lena Headey, who plays Cersei Lannister, queen regent of the Seven Kingdoms.
The "Games of Thrones" tour was just one of several events for Elizabeth on the second day of a three-day visit to Northern Ireland, where two decades of relative peace now allow the UK's ceremonial head of state to travel with much greater openness. That was demonstrated as she toured Belfast's gloriously restored Victorian market — and a teenage boy jumped forward to take a cellphone "selfie" photo of himself with the startled monarch.
In her first visit to Belfast City Hall in a half-century — since shortly after her coronation in 1953 — Elizabeth lauded the British Protestant and Irish Catholic sides of the community for forging a unity government in 2007. That ended a four-decade conflict over Northern Ireland that left 3,700 dead.
"We have learnt a lot in those years about ourselves, each other, and how societies can only grow and flourish if they are built on trust, respect, justice and interdependence," she said.