London: Patricia Knatchbull, the daughter of Lord Mountbatten, the last viceroy of India who was killed in 1979 by the Irish Republican Army (IRA), has hailed Queen Elizabeth`s historic meeting with the former militant group commander Martin McGuinness.
The two met for a historic handshake in Belfast, signifying a new high in the Northern Ireland peace process.
McGuinness, who was the chief negotiator for IRA`s political wing, Sinn Fein, during talks to end the violence, is now the deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland.
Knatchbull, 88, who lost her 14 year old son Nicholas Knatchbull as well as her father and mother in law in the IRA bomb that claimed four lives on Aug 27, 1979, said the Queen had her full support for meeting McGuinness.
"I think it`s wonderful. I`m hugely grateful that we have come to a point where we can behave responsibly and positively," she told The Daily Telegraph.
Knatchbull, who also has the title `2nd Countess Mountbatten of Burma`, had survived the bomb that blew up a fishing boat on which the family was enjoying a day out.
Her husband and her son`s twin brother, Timothy, also survived, though all three were terribly injured.
The meeting between the Queen and McGuinness two took place at the Lyric Theatre in Belfast during an event organised by a charity organisation, Co-Operation Ireland, which works to bring communities together.
They shook hands at a private meeting and later shook hands in public.
The meeting and the hand shake are seen as a major milestone in efforts to normalise relations between nationalists and unionists in Northern Ireland.
Sinn Fein has stressed the meeting is not a celebration of the Queen`s Diamond Jubilee.