Friday, 14 July 2017

Spanish State Visit: ending on a high

Well, that went well then. The King and Queen of Spain have ended their State Visit to the UK with the cheers still ringing in their ears. The past three days have been a win all round for King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain and there were big crowds out in Oxford to send them on their way as their tour came to a finish. Here's how the Spanish State Visit ended on a high....

The day began with a goodbye as the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh oversaw the official farewell on the steps of Buckingham Palace. This rather low key way of sending their visitors on their way always has a certain charm to it. There was a proper family feel to this one with kisses and hugs. There was also an air of poignancy - this could well be the final time we see Prince Philip take part in such an event as he is retiring, largely, from public engagements in August.

First stop on the final day was the Francis Crick Institute in London. There was a tour, a chat about the projects going on there and a chance to meet some of the Spanish scientists working in the UK. They were accompanied by the Duke of York.

From there, Felipe and Letizia left London and headed to Oxford.  On the itinerary here was a visit to the Weston Library where they were shown several Spanish items. There were crowds, there were flags, there was a big welcome. This trip has grabbed headlines and won them new friends.

The University of Oxford gave a lunch in their honour where King Felipe gave another speech then it was off to Exeter College to meet Spanish students and professors at the final engagement of the tour.

No wonder Felipe and Letizia were smiling as they walked through the college gardens, they have enjoyed three days that have gone better than anyone imagined. The State Visit, postponed in 2016 and earlier this year because of political issues in Spain and in the UK, has put the seal on the young reign of King Felipe and sent images of a monarch settled in his role around the world. A quiet summer will leave Felipe in a strong position to renew his agenda in September and rebuild the popularity of his throne. The Spanish State Visit to the UK could yet emerge as a turning point in his reign and the future of his monarchy.

You can catch up with all the photos and news from this State Visit on the special page here.

Photo credit: casareal Twitter.

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