Monday, 6 March 2017

When The Queen meets Queens and Kings

Could Europe's newest monarch be about to walk through the doors of Buckingham Palace?
(photo Wiki Commons)

Stand by, there's State Visit news. The Express is reporting that work is going on to schedule in the postponed State Visit of King Felipe and Queen Letizia of Spain to the UK and we could be getting their carriages and tiara moment very soon. The Express says that Felipe and Letizia could be heading this way in June, before the proposed State Visit by US President, Donald Trump which looks likely, now, to happen in October. Europress and La Vanguardia in Spain are also reporting ongoing talks to reschedule the Spanish State Visit soon - it was postponed last year because of the political situation in Spain following inconclusive general elections at the end of 2015. If King Felipe and Queen Letizia do visit this year, it will be the fourteenth time that the Queen has hosted a fellow European monarch in her record breaking reign. As rumours grow, here's a look back at the other times that the Queen has hosted queens and kings.

Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, 16th to 18th February 2000


It's over fifteen years since the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh welcomed a European monarch on a State Visit (King Harald and his family came in 2005 but that was an official visit despite the state appearance). In 2000, Elizabeth II hosted fellow queen regnant. Margrethe II of Denmark, for a three day visit based at Windsor Castle. It was the second time that the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh had welcomed the Queen of Denmark and her Prince Consort, Henrik, on a State Visit, the first event coming in the early years of Margrethe's reign. This was a glittering royal event, a sparkling step for the House of Windsor as it rebuilt its strength following the difficult years of the 1990s.

King Harald V of Norway, 5th to 8th July 1994


Norway's royals have enjoyed more State Visits to the UK during the Queen's reign than any other European monarchy - perhaps not surprising given the close family ties (both Elizabeth II and Harald V are great grandchildren of Edward VII). The four day trip made by King Harald V and Queen Sonja three years after their reign began was the third State Visit by a Norwegian monarch in the Queen's reign. They would make an official visit in 2005 as well. The friendship between the royals is clear to see in this fun photo from the very start of the visit.

King Olav V of Norway, 12th to 15th April 1988


There's nothing not to love about the image of the Queen smiling as King Olav V, in sunglasses, takes a salute as they start what was his second State Visit to the UK since his cousin, Elizabeth, took the throne. The friendship between these two monarchs was evident in what would be Olav's last State Visit to the UK. The close bonds between the two monarchies are also seen in the list of the Queen's outgoing State Visits - she has made three to Norway in her reign, more than to any other European kingdom, and the first of her reign was to Oslo where she was hosted by Olav's father, King Haakon VII, in June 1955.

 King Juan Carlos I of Spain, 22nd to 25th April 1986

The last time a King of Spain came to the UK for a State Visit, things were very different. When Felipe VI's father, King Juan Carlos I, arrived in April 1986 he was scaling heights of popularity that many other monarchies might have wanted themselves and was greeted by huge crowds during parts of the visit. From the glittering State Banquet at Windsor Castle to Juan Carlos' address to the Houses of Parliament, this was an historic visit. Felipe and Letizia will be hoping for similar success when they arrive, probably later this year.

Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, 16th to 19th November 1982


The ancient walls of Hampton Court Palace were the setting for the State Banquet given by the Queen during the visit of Beatrix of the Netherlands in 1982.  Beatrix was just two years into her reign by then and took part in her four day State Visit alongside her husband and consort, Prince Claus. This is, so far, the last State Visit between the two monarchies - Beatrix's son and successor, King Willem-Alexander, paid an introductory visit to the UK soon after his accession but has yet to make a State Visit.

 King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, 8th to 11th July 1975

Another new king on the block arriving for a State Visit was Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden who was hosted for four days in July 1975, less than two years after he took his country's throne. Carl Gustaf was still unmarried at the time - his wedding to Silvia Sommerlath took place the following June - so he was a solo monarch during his visit. Eight years later, King Carl XVI Gustaf and his consort, Queen Silvia, welcomed the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh to Stockholm for a four day State Visit in May 1983.

Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, 30th April - 3rd May 1974

The first time Margrethe of Denmark made a State Visit to the UK was as a young monarch back in 1974. Her late spring visit was a sparkling success and five years later, Margrethe and Henrik would host Elizabeth II and Prince Philip in Copenhagen as the Queen made the second State Visit of her reign to Denmark.

Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg, 13th to 16th  June 1972

Buckingham Palace was filled with royal visitors in 1972. Not only were there family celebrations late it the year for the Silver Wedding anniversary of the Queen and Prince Philip, there were two State Visits from European ruling houses too. Grand Duke Jean and Grand Duchess Josephine Charlotte of Luxembourg made a four day trip in June that year with carriages to Buckingham Palace among the highlights. The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh made a return visit to Luxembourg in 1976.

Queen Juliana of the Netherlands, 11th to 15th April 1972


The Queen had made a State Visit to the Netherlands in the early part of her reign, travelling to Amsterdam in March 1958, as Queen Juliana marked her own ten year anniversary as a monarch. In April 1972, Elizabeth II and Prince Philip welcomed Juliana and her husband. Prince Bernhard, on a four day State Visit which included a State Banquet at Windsor Castle. 

 King Paul I of Greece, 9th to 12th July 1963

It really was a family affair as the Queen welcomed King Paul of Greece to the UK on a State Visit in 1963. The King of the Hellenes was first cousin to the Duke of Edinburgh and Marina, Duchess of Kent and the four day visit was marked by a closeness between the protagonists. It was among the last major events of King Paul's reign - he died in March 1964. However, his royal legacy lives on - King Felipe VI is his grandson and could well be following in his State Visit footsteps later this year.

King Baudouin of the Belgians, 14th to 17th May 1963


Newly wed King Baudouin and Queen Fabiola of the Belgians made a four day State Visit to the UK in 1963. The hugely popular Belgian royals enjoyed a highly successful trip and would welcome the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh to Brussels in May 1966. It was the last time, to date, that the two monarchies were involved in a State Visit together.

 King Olav V of Norway, 16th to 19th October 1962


Stand by, it's that King of Norway again. Olav V, popular wherever he went and truly loved in his home country made his first State Visit to the UK in 1962, four years after his reign had begun. He clearly enjoyed it - as can be seen in the photograph - and it cemented the already strong bonds between the monarchies of the UK and Norway. Olav welcomed Elizabeth II and Prince Philip to Oslo in 1981.

 King Gustaf VI Adolf of Sweden, 28th June to 1st July 1954


The first State Visit to be hosted by the Queen following her accession saw her welcome King Gustaf VI Adolf of Sweden and his wife, Queen Louise, to London in 1954. The Queen of Sweden happened to be the aunt of the Duke of Edinburgh so the new royal hosts were in safe hands. The four day visit was a landmark in what would become the historic reign of Elizabeth II and the King and Queen of Sweden would welcome her to Stockholm in 1956 on what was just her second outward State Visit. Now, as King Felipe is reported to be heading to London, the Queen has hosted 109 State Visits and made 89 of her own to other countries. The young monarch standing on the steps of Buckingham Palace with her aunt by marriage now looks set to welcome the newest king on the continent on a major State Visit of his own. It would be another chapter in a royal history filled with pomp, ceremony and friendship as the Queen hosts her fellow European monarchs on State Visits.

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