Tonight, the British Royal Family held a lavish state banquet to close the first day of The King and Queen of Spain’s state visit.
Many members of the Royal Family were present, including Prince Charles and Camilla, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, The Earl and Countess of Wessex, Prince Harry, The Duke of York and Princess Anne. Also in attendance were Prime Minister Theresa May, and Justin Welby, The Archbishop of Canterbury.
Queen Letizia in the Fleur de Lys tiara, and the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by royals including the Duchess of Cambridge pic.twitter.com/sgUqchTH7u
— PA Royal Reporters (@PARoyal) July 12, 2017
The ballroom of Buckingham Palace provided an impressive setting for the meal, which will include petit fours served on real gold plates, decorated with sugar recreations of red carnations – the national flower of Spain.
Sugarwork red carnations – the national flower of Spain – adorn the gold plates which petits fours will be served on at the State Banquet pic.twitter.com/0OqiqFeqis
— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) 12 July 2017
Both Her Majesty and King Felipe made speeches, in English and Spanish respectively, after a ceremonial welcome at Horseguards Parade earlier. During their speeches, both Monarchs emphasised the close relationship between the two Royal Families, while The Queen reflected on the 1986 state visit by Felipe’s parents, then King and Queen Juan Carlos and Sofia.
Queen Elizabeth also noted that King Alfonso XIII, Felipe’s great-grandfather, met his future wife Princess Victoria Eugenie, granddaughter of Queen Victoria, in the very same ballroom. This couple would mark a modern link between the two royal houses, a connection which has played a prominent role throughout history, for instance with the marriage between Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon.
Felipe, meanwhile, noted the recent terrorist attacks in the UK, in which there have been several Spanish victims. The Spanish Head of State also thanked The Queen and Philip for their generosity and the effort which the British people have put in to prepare the state visit.
Interestingly, Felipe continually referred to his hosts in the ‘vosotros’ form – for non-Spanish speakers, this is a significant choice as it is the more informal pronoun, and would normally only be used between friends and close family. By using such an informal tone, Felipe is once again emphasising the close relationship between the two long-standing monarchies.
As is tradition at a state banquet, the royal ladies dazzled in tiaras, with Catherine once again opting for the Cambridge Lover’s Knot tiara, worn frequently by Diana, Princess of Wales. Letizia chose the Fleur de Lys tiara, a wedding present from Alfonso XIII to his British bride Victoria Eugenie in 1906. Indeed, many consider this to be the most important tiara in the Spanish collection, and it was actually worn at Queen Elizabeth’s coronation by the Countess of Barcelona.
Stills from Casa Real’s live stream