Brexit : Spanish royals visit Britain despite tensions

13 July, 2017, 01:32 | Author: Chad Mckenzie
  • Queen Letizia King of Spain Felipe VI wedding

The four are all descended from Queen Victoria and shared a few words before the welcome ceremony began.

Britain's head of state and Philip warmly shook hands with King Felipe VI and his wife, Queen Letizia, at Horse Guards Parade, Henry VIII's former jousting yard.

Last September, Felipe used his address to the UN General Assembly in NY to call for a negotiated handover of Gibraltar.

But against the backdrop of the visit are strained relations between Spain and the United Kingdom over the sovereignty of Gibraltar that has come to the fore because of Brexit with MPs threatening to walk out if King Felipe lays claim to the "the Rock" during his parliamentary address.

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The horses will look magnificent, the carriage procession majestic and the State Banquet will be divine but what matters about the visit by the King and Queen of Spain will be words.

They will then visit Exeter college, where a professorship in Spanish is named after Felipe's great-grandfather, Alfonso XIII, and meet Spanish students and academics.

Gibraltar voted strongly in favour of remaining in the European Union at last year's Brexit referendum but remains committed to staying part of Britain and has said it is preparing to lose its preferential access to the European Union markets.

The EU has already promised Spain a veto over the extension to Gibraltar of any future trade deal between Britain and the bloc, a topic which could come up during the king's lunch on Thursday with British Prime Minister Theresa May.

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Letizia stuck to what she knows best in terms of style, choosing to wear her go-to Spanish designer Felipe Varela for the day.

Image copyright EPA Image caption King Felipe inspected the guard of honour with Prince Philip.

The royal visit will last three days.

The VIP visitors enjoy a military ceremonial welcome on Horse Guards Parade to mark the start of their visit to Britain. The last such visit from Spain was made by King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofia in 1986.

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