Spanish royalty begin UK state visit12/07/17Culture
Queen Elizabeth II will welcome King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain to the UK today as they begin a three-day state visit.
She will greet the visitors along with her husband the Duke of Edinburgh at Horse Guards Parade in London. It is expected to be the Duke’s last state visit before he retires from public duties after the summer.
The trip is expected to secure relations between the two nations and is the first state visit by a Spanish king to the UK since Felipe’s father, Juan Carlos, arrived 31 years ago.
King Felipe will lay a wreath at the Grave of the Unknown Warrior before a brief tour of Westminster Abbey, which will include the Tomb of Eleanor “Leonor” of Castile – the 13th Century Spanish princess who married King Edward I in 1254 at the age of 13.
More than ever the UK’s relations with other European member states are framed within the context of Brexit, and the delicate issue of UK overseas territory Gibraltar is expected to feature in talks between the two royal houses.
King Felipe recently invited “the UK, on this first occasion at the UN after Brexit to end the colonial anachronism of Gibraltar with an agreed solution between both countries to restore the territorial integrity of Spain”.
The Spanish royals will also meet with UK Prime Minister Theresa May in Downing Street during the three-day visit.