Queen’s portrait returns to Stormont House after outcry over removal

The Queen’s image has returned to the walls of a Government building in Belfast after its controversial removal.

A portrait of the head of the state had been taken down from a public area of Stormont House – the headquarters of the Northern Ireland Office.

The move came amid claims a civil servant had been paid compensation after apparently taking offence at the painting.

Lord Maginnis
Lord Maginnis (Paul Faith/PA)

Lord Maginnis told the House of Lords that a civil servant had been paid £10,000 in compensation for being offended at having to walk past portraits of the Queen and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh.

The case was reportedly settled a number of years ago but the issue became a matter of public contention after Lord Maginnis’s intervention earlier this summer.

Northern Ireland Secretary Julian Smith ordered an internal review after the controversy.

Julian Smith
Julian Smith (Brian Lawless/PA)

A UK Government spokeswoman confirmed that the Queen’s image was now on display again.

“A portrait of the Queen – our head of state – is on display in the public area of Stormont House alongside a balanced set of images celebrating and reflecting the work of the Northern Ireland Office,” she said.

DUP leader Arlene Foster welcomed the move, tweeting: “Glad this matter has been resolved. The Secretary of State has made the right decision but questions remain as to how the NIO allowed this situation to develop. Deeply embarrassing for a UK govt Dept.”

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