As the world watched Belfast today in anticipation of an historical handshake, details emerged of unsavoury scenes during preparations for the event.
During Her Majesty's Jubilee visit to Northern Ireland she was expected to shake hands with Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, a former senior commander of the IRA.
The handshake is seen as a significant gesture on the troubled province's road to peace.
Mr McGuinness said: "By shaking the hand of Queen Elizabeth I am effectively, symbolically, shaking the hands of hundreds of thousands of Unionists."
But stories were emerging today the suggest that mutual suspicions will not be dismissed so easily.
A Northern Ireland Assembly insider who was at a rehearsal for the event yesterday explains: "We had set up the room where the handshake was to take place and had people standing in for Her Majesty and the Deputy First Minister.
"But as Mr McGuinness's stand-in went to accept the proffered hand of the stand-in Queen, she withdrew it, made a rude gesture and heaved her handbag into his groin shouting, 'Take that, ye feckin' Fenian bastard ye!'"
Apparently, as 'McGuinness' crumpled to the floor, a colleague jumped at 'Her Majesty' yelling: "Brits ite - ye Proddy fecker! Death to Loyalist bastards! Ireland for the Irish!"
The insider added: "We then tried a more peaceful ceremony with cups of tea and cake, and that seemed to go very well."