LONDON (AP) — Spain's royals will make a state visit to Britain in June — an announcement that effectively pushes back President Donald Trump's state visit to autumn at the earliest.
Buckingham Palace said Friday that King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain have accepted the invitation from Queen Elizabeth II and will stay at Buckingham Palace.
The visit rules out the possibility that President Donald Trump will make a state visit to the U.K. in June, as had been speculated. Some reports have suggested that the trip had been moved to the end of the year in hopes of avoiding protests.
State visits are grand occasions meant to showcase and celebrate both the visiting dignitary and the country in question. The effort and security necessary to put on such an affair means that usually there is only one in the spring and one in the autumn.
The monarch and members of the royal family offer a ceremonial welcome and there is a carriage procession escorted by members of the Household Cavalry. The flags of the visiting country are hoisted along the road leading to Buckingham Palace, a reminder to all that a special moment is at hand.
The visits are also accompanied by other events and cultural celebrations. The movement of dignitaries around the capital and the accompanying security for them usually snarls already busy London traffic.
The last state visit from Spain was that of King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia in 1986. Britain's queen and the Duke of Edinburgh paid a state visit to Spain in 1988.