UK state visit by Spanish royals to begin

The Queen and King FelipeImage copyright
PA

Image caption

The Queen and Prince Philip greeted King Felipe, right, and Queen Letizia at Horse Guards Parade.

The Queen and Prince Philip have welcomed the king and queen of Spain to the UK for a three-day state visit.

King Felipe and Queen Letizia are attending a ceremony at Horse Guards Parade and earlier met Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall.

The trip is the first state visit by a Spanish king to the UK since Felipe’s father, Juan Carlos, came 31 years ago.

The BBC’s royal correspondent said UK leaders hope it will improve relations over Brexit and Gibraltar.

It is expected to be the last time the Duke of Edinburgh takes part in a state visit before he retires from public duties after the summer.

The visit is beginning one day later than usual for such trips, meaning Theresa May missed Prime Minister’s Questions in the Commons to attend the Horse Guards welcome.

Mrs May’s Home Secretary Amber Rudd was also in attendance.

Image copyright
EPA

Image caption

Both royal families travelled from Horse Guards Parade, along The Mall, to Buckingham Palace by carriage

Image copyright
PA

Image caption

Prime Minister Theresa May was attending the welcoming ceremony with Home Secretary Amber Rudd

Later in the evening, a state banquet is to be held for the Spanish royals in the ballroom of Buckingham Palace, where they are staying.

Prince Harry and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expected to attend the meal.

It will be the first time Harry has taken part in a state visit.

On Thursday, he will accompany the royal visitors to Westminster Abbey.

King Felipe will lay a wreath at the Grave of the Unknown Warrior and the prince will join them on a short tour of the abbey, including the Tomb of Eleanor “Leonor” of Castile – the 13th-Century Spanish princess who married Edward I.

Image copyright
AFP

Image caption

Gibraltar is an issue that divides the UK and Spain

Royal correspondent Nicholas Witchell said the trip was an opportunity to emphasise the history of the relationship between the two nations as well as modern links over issues such as commerce, culture and science.

But he said more than ever the UK’s relations with other European nations are now framed within the context of Brexit.

He added there was also the issue of the UK overseas territory of Gibraltar, where the two countries disagree.

It is less than a year since King Felipe told the UN that it was time, as he put it, “to end the colonial anachronism of Gibraltar”.

UK state visit by Spanish royals to begin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *