AS Queen Elizabeth II celebrates the Platinum Jubilee becoming the first monarch ever to mark 70 years on the throne, isn’t it about time she paid a visit to Spain and Gibraltar?
When Spain’s King Felipe and Queen Letizia made their first state visit to the UK in July 2017 it raised anticipation that the British monarch might make a trip to their country in return.
It’s been a long time since 1988 when she made her one and only trip to Spain, a country where she is widely respected and shares none of the scandal that taints her distant cousin King Juan Carlos.
She received rapturous applause when she addressed Spain’s parliament to pay tribute to the nation’s peaceful transition to democracy on the death of Franco in 1975. “The democratic Parliament before me, and the manner in which it was achieved, will stand out as one of the brightest pages in your nation’s long and proud history,” she said.
And there is obvious affection between Her Majesty and King Felipe as revealed in a poignant condolence letter on the death of Prince Philip in which he wrote to his ‘Dear Aunt Lilibet’.
Of course she is adored in Gibraltar, where she made her only state visit as monarch in May 1954 joined by the Duke of Edinburgh and their two eldest children Prince Charles and Princess Anne.
We can blame the thorny issue of Gibraltar’s sovereignty for preventing her repeat visit to the tiny British outpost at the foot of Spain, fearing a royal visit could flare up diplomatic tensions.
But what better sign of the ‘strength of friendship’ and the ‘resilient spirit of cooperation and goodwill’, to quote the Queen’s own speech at the state dinner for King Felipe, than a final tour of the Iberian peninsula?
Viva La Reina!
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