Saturday, 25 February 2017

February State Visits: Spain welcomes Argentina

King Felipe and Queen Letizia of Spain welcome the President of Argentina, Mauricio Macri, and his wife, Juliana Awada, for a State Visit this week 
Stop looking at the tiara. Yes, the Argentinian State Visit to Spain featured the first appearance of Queen Letizia in ‘La Buena’ but other things happened as well. OK, not as sparkly and exciting as Leti becoming just the fourth royal woman to be seen in that towering tiara but still fun. The one thing that really stands out in this State Visit is just how well all four main players involved get on with one another. Get ready to smile, here’s how Spain’s royals hosted the Argentinian State Visit.

It’s a State Visit so we need an official welcome and that took place at Palacio Real in Madrid on February  22nd. After the week they’ve had, with the end of the trial of the Infanta Cristina and her husband Inaki Urdangarin, you might have forgiven Felipe and Letizia for looking a little tired but they seemed to be on top form as they waited to greet President Mauricio Macri and his wife, Juliana Awada.

There were more smiles as their guests arrived. The King of Spain and the President of Argentina inspected the Guard of Honour while the fashion press got down to inspecting every last part of the outfits chosen by their wives. Letizia and Juliana side by side had been hotly anticipated – their first appearance saw them bamboozle everyone by wearing rather similar outfits.

There was a lunch and more photos before King Felipe and President Macri held a meeting then went on to a series of audiences with Spanish politicians.

OK, tiara time. The State Banquet took place at the Palacio Real that evening and as well as Juliana Awada in a princess gown, we got Letizia in a queen’s tiara. King Felipe gave a speech about the friendship between the two countries and the many things which unite their governments and people. But the appearance of La Buena at the big gala dinner ended up dominating day one of this visit. 
Day two, February 23rd, was much more relaxed. The guests and their royal hosts opened ARCOMadrid, the international contemporary art fair which is taking place for the 36th time.
Each edition puts a special focus on one country and this time round, it’s Argentina. King Felipe and Queen Letizia, along with President Macri and Juliana Awada, toured the fair and met many of those taking part in it before ending up in the middle of the children’s section where they had such a good time it looked at one point like they might never leave.

The relaxed air of this State Visit was never more evident than at this part of the visit with Queen Letizia, in particular, seeming extremely happy. There was hand holding, hugging and lots of smiling from both the royal hosts and their guests.

The laid back air continued with the final act of this short State Visit. The evening of February 23rd saw President Macri and Juliana Awada host a reception in honour of their hosts at the Pardo Palace in Madrid.

If the night before was all about big diamonds (did we mention Leti’s diadem debut yet?), this was cocktail hour with a special up past bedtime moment for the young daughter of Mauricio Mauri and Juliana Awada. Little Antonia looked slightly star struck as she said hello to Queen Letizia who had swapped her heirloom jewels for black and white sequins.

And with that, the State Visit was over. It wasn’t the busiest but it packed a real punch. It was a chance for Felipe and Letizia to put in place a new image of royalty after a weekend dominated by discussion over the outcome of the trial of the Infanta Cristina and they certainly faced down their critics in style. This State Visit has been a big success for Spain’s royals – how the future turns out is yet to be seen but Felipe and Letizia have shown they are ready to face it with smiles.

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