LONDON – The Spanish King and Queen were on Wednesday received in London by the United Kingdom’s Queen Elizabeth II in a ceremonial event that marked the start of the first UK visit by a Spanish monarch since 1986.
King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain were welcomed near Buckingham Palace by Queen Elizabeth, who was accompanied by her husband Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, and various government ministers.
Queen Elizabeth, 91, presented the Spanish royals to Prime Minister Theresa May and other lawmakers before King Felipe proceeded to review the 1st Battalion Irish Guards along with the prince consort.
With introductions out of the way, Spain’s national anthem rang out at the Horse Guards Parade as part of a colorful ceremony that saw alternating national flags decorating The Mall – the long straight road leading up to the Palace.
Prince Charles, heir to the throne, and his wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, were also in attendance.
After the ceremonial greeting was over, Queen Elizabeth and King Felipe climbed into an open horse-drawn carriage, which was pulled by a six-strong herd and destined for Buckingham Palace, the official London residence of the royal family.
Prince Charles and Queen Letizia rode together in another carriage.
The royals would then enjoy a private lunch and exchange gifts at the Palace.
As part of the official welcome, a 42-gun salute took place in Green Park and a 62-gun salute went off at the Tower of London.