King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain have been formally welcomed to the United Kingdom by Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh, with a short ceremony on Horse Guards Parade in central London.
The two monarchs then enjoyed a a carriage ride through St. James's Park and on to Buckingham Palace, where Their Majesties will view Spain-related items from the Royal Collection.
The Spanish trip is the first state visit to the UK since King Felipe's father, Juan Carlos I, travelled to the British capital in 1986.
On that journey 30 years ago, he mentioned the status of Gibraltar, commenting that the status of The Rock was "the only thing that separates us", remarks that were interpreted at the time as expressing "a national sentiment".
This Wednesday, a Conservative Party MP, Andrew Rosindell, warned observers "should not be surprised" if some members left their seats and walked out on King Felipe if the current Spanish monarch were to mention Gibraltar during his address to both houses of parliament in Westminster this afternoon.
While the Mall was decked in Spanish flags and Union Jacks, the flag of Gibraltar was flying outside parliament, positioned so that it will be difficult for the King of Spain to miss it when he arrives.
ITV's royal correspondent, Chris Ship, reported King Felipe would mention The Rock in his speech to parliament: "Tin hat time".
Programme For The Royal Visit To The United Kingdom
- Wednesday, July 12: Formal state welcome on Horse Guards Parade with Queen Elizabeth and Duke of Edinburgh, guard of honor, artillery salute; procession in state carriage to Buckingham Palace; viewing of Spain-related items from the Royal Collection; tea with Prince Charles and The Duchess of Cornwall (Camilla); visit to Palace of Westminster, where King Felipe will address MPs and Lords; state banquet at Buckingham Palace, with speeches by both monarchs.
- Thursday, July 13: bilateral trade visit to UK-Spain Business Forum at Mansion House, accompanied by The Duke of York; visit to Westminster Abbey, accompanied by HRH Prince Henry of Wales; King to lay a wreath at the Grave of the Unknown Warrior; reception at the Spanish Ambassador's residence; visit to No. 10 Downing Street to meet Prime Minister Theresa May; Banquet at Guildhall given by the Lord Mayor and City of London Corporation.
- Friday, July 14: King and Queen of Spain formally bid farewell to the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh at Buckingham Palace; visit the Francis Crick Institute to meet Spaniards working there; visit to Oxford University, viewing of view an exhibition of Spanish treasures; reception for Spanish nationals working and studying at the University; departure from London at RAF Brize Norton.
Published: 6:04 pm, Jul 12 2017 (link)
King Of Spain Wants "Acceptable" Arrangement With UK On Gibraltar
King Felipe addressed Members of Parliament and Lords in the Royal Gallery at Westminster Palace on Wednesday afternoon. In a brief mention of Gibraltar during his remarks to British politicians, he said "I am certain that this resolve to overcome our differences will be even greater in the case of Gibraltar" and that the two governments could "work towards arrangements that are acceptable to all involved". He added that "We are two nations with every reason for understanding, support and affection". The Spanish translation of his prepared remarks talked of a "satisfactory solution" being found for The Rock.