Britain’s royals welcomed their Spanish counterparts in London on Wednesday at the grand kickoff to the first-ever state visit by Spain’s King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia.
The morning began with Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall greeting King Felipe, 49, and Queen Letizia, 44, at their hotel. The two couples then traveled to Horse Guards Parade, the famed central London parade ground where the official ceremonial welcome was scheduled.
Next, Queen Elizabeth, 91, and Prince Philip, 96, made the formal welcome, including a royal salute from the Guard of Honor and the playing of the Spanish National Anthem.
King Felipe, accompanied by Prince Philip, inspected the Guard of Honor (in this case, the 1st Battalion Irish Guards). Afterward, Felipe and Letizia joined the Queen and Philip for a state carriage procession along The Mall to Buckingham Palace.
It will be a busy day: The Queen will also host a private lunch at Buckingham Palace, followed by a tour of the palace’s famed Picture Gallery to highlight Royal Collection items relating to Spain.
Prince Charles and Camilla will also host the royal couple at their home, Clarence House, for tea in the afternoon, and later King Felipe will deliver an address to Parliamentarians.
But the main event will take place Wednesday evening: a state banquet at Buckingham Palace, where both monarchs will deliver speeches (and the tiaras should be in full force!). Prince Harry is poised to attend the banquet as well in his first official role at a state banquet.