President Mary McAleese and Britain's Queen Elizabeth held private discussions in Belfast this afternoon.

It was the fifth official meeting between Mrs McAleese and the British monarch and it is likely to increase speculation about an official visit by Queen Elizabeth to Ireland. 

The British Queen was last in Northern Ireland in June 2007, at a party for the community and voluntary sector in Coleraine, Co Derry.

She also visited Northern Ireland in October 2006 for a review of the Royal Irish Regiment before they were disbanded last summer.

Last night the she was at Hillsborough Castle meeting around 300 members and workers from the Territorial Army, during a reception to mark the group's centenary.

Accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, she spoke with soldiers, their families and employees.

She met soldiers who had served in operations in Sierra Leone, Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan. More than 100 soldiers have just arrived for a six month tour of duty.

The Queen's visit will end with a Maundy Service at St Patrick's Church of Ireland Cathedral in Armagh.

Anglican Archbishop of Armagh Alan Harper and other religious leaders are also expected to be present.

Click here to watch an extended interview with Mary McAleese