The last king to sit on it was poisoned at his own wedding, so it was perhaps no surprise that the Queen preferred not to take the Iron Throne when she visited the Game of Thrones set.
Instead, the monarch inspected the seat, which is made from interlaced iron swords, from a safe distance before getting a closer look at the royal treasury of Westeros, laid out beside it.
She was, however, happy to hold a tiny replica and beamed as she met cast members, among them Kit Harington who plays Jon Snow, Lena Headey who plays Queen Cersei Lannister and Sophie Turner who plays Sansa Stark.
The set, which is in Belfast’s recently completed Titanic Quarter, is where many of the scenes inside King’s Landing – the royal palace of Westeros – are filmed.
Home to the wicked queen Cersei Lannister, King’s Landing was the scene of several Machiavellian plots and scores of unpleasant murders, among them that of the ‘Mad King’ Aerys II Targaryen who was stabbed in the back by Cersei’s brother, Jaime.
Luckily for the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, the cast were on their best behaviour and chatted politely with the royal couple as they showed them around the set.
Maisie Williams, the 17-year-old star who plays the spirited Arya Stark, was the first of the actors to chat to the monarch. ‘She kept commenting on how uncomfortable the throne looked, that was funny,’ she said.
‘I don’t think I’ve ever been as nervous to meet anybody,’ added Headey. ‘I didn’t think I was, and then I saw her appear and I suddenly thought, “it’s the Queen, the real Queen”! She was really cool and gorgeous and delightful.
‘I think of everything she has done and everything she has achieved and the fact she is still interested even though she has met countless people and talked about numerous things.’
Equally excited was Harrington. ‘Being here and meeting the Queen, it’s pretty amazing that the show has done that and she has come to see the sets. It gives it some sense of scale,’ he said.
‘She is an incredible person. She has an incredible presence about her. To meet someone who has been on the throne as long as she has and has seen the things she has, it’s quite an experience.’
The HBO drama, which emerged from a set of fantasy novels by George R. R Martin, is thought to be loosely based on the Wars of the Roses, which saw two opposing dynasties battle it out for the throne of England.
With York on one side and Lancaster on the other, England was convulsed by a series of battles, dastardly plots and pretenders lurking on the other side of the Channel until, with the death of Richard III, Lancaster finally triumphed.
The Queen, who also holds the title and the lands of the Duchy of Lancaster, had earlier been given a snapshot into the UK’s more recent bloody past, visiting the infamous Crumlin Road Gaol, accompanied by former inmates Martin McGuinness and Peter Robinson.
McGuinness, who remains a controversial figure thanks to his links to the IRA, also met the Queen for a 10-minute meeting at Hillsborough Castle, her official residence in Northern Ireland, last night.
Afterwards, he told the BBC that the meeting was about ‘reaching out the hand of friendship to the Unionist community’. ‘I met Queen Elizabeth tonight in my role as Deputy First Minister, representing the entire community,’ he added.
‘Reconciliation requires bold gestures and this is the third time I have met with Queen Elizabeth as part of that continuing process.’
Buckingham Palace declined to say whether the Queen and Duke are fans of the show. A spokeswoman said they were ‘interested to see the impact the filming has had on the local economy and the local skills and crafts that make the show.’
The Queen’s visit to the Game of Thrones set was one of a series of engagements scheduled in and around Belfast today. After a lunch at Belfast City Hall with local dignitaries, the monarch visited the lovely St George’s covered market, where she chatted to stallholders and met well-wishers.
She also became the latest victim of an unscheduled royal selfie, as an eager young fan tried to snap a photo with her on his iPhone – much to the consternation of the Queen’s security detail.
Afterwards, she was driven back to Hillsborough Castle, her Northern Irish official residence, where she and the Duke of Edinburgh joined guests for a party in the sunny garden.