Queen Elizabeth ended her troubled visit to a pair of isolated Protestant Ulster towns and declared that all people in the bloodied province want the "senseless violence" to cease.
Speaking on television to Ulster's sorely divided 1 million Protestants and half'million Catholics, the queen declared: "There are hopeful signs of reconciliation and understanding . . . People, everywhere, recognize that violence is senseless and wrong and that they do not want it. Their clear meassage is that it must stop."
In fact, in her two days here the queen has seen none of the misery or violence at first had. She spent her entire day today on a remote, 300-acre campus outside heavily Protestant Coleraine. Yesterday she did not venture outside a pleasant surburban castle in equally Protestant Hillsborough.
There was no question of the queen's personal courage. She endured a heavy program of tours and a garden party at the New University of Coleraine despite a vain IRA threat this morning to bomb the place. But her advisers confined the queen to a severely limited itinerary here and kept her under a heavy security blanket manned by 33,000 soldiers and police.
In one sense, her trip, last of her silver jubilee tours, was a success. The queen hardened those Protestants who are eager to maintain the link with Britain. The level of violence throughout.
Ulster was unusually low during her 36 hours here. Today for example, only one bomb exploded outside Belfast, injuring one person, and several trucks were hijacked and burned in Catholic ghettos as a protest.
But the central issue of this trip was posed tonight by Gerry Fitt, a member of Parliament who is staunchly anti-IRA and the leading Catholic politician in the province. Fitt said the massive security protection showed that the Queen leaves a deeply divided province behind her.
In contrast, her grandfather, George V, traveled through the streets of Belfast in an open touring car 56 years ago. Moreover, there was a full-fledged civil war going on at the time, one that led to the creation of the Catholic Republic of Ireland.
The IRA grabbed the early headlines here today with a threat telexed to newspapers that called on authorities to evacuate the 4,500 men, women and children invited to the university to cheer the queen. "Any bomb fatalities," the IRA said, "would be your responsibility, Elizabrit."
The queen ignored both the insulting contraction of her name and the threat. Scores of soldiers and police, aided by sniffing dogs and metal detectors, searched grounds, buildings, cars and visitors and came up with nothing. The genteel show went on as scheduled. The IRA's hoax failed.
In her five-minute address, the queen spoke of her "deep concern and sadness" over the conflict here that has taken 1,800 lives in the past eight years. She expressed her "admiration for the fortitude and resilience" of Ulster's people. She suggested that Ulster is wrongly pictured as a place composed of "separate and beleaguered communities living in fear and without hope.
"The atmosphere in this hall today shows just how wrong this image is."