SPAIN’S King and Queen have long addressed Queen Elizabeth as ‘Aunt Lilibet’ and referred to the late Duke of Edinburgh as ‘Uncle Philip’.
The strong bond between the families is because Queen Sofía of Spain’s grandfather was the uncle of Elizabeth’s husband.
The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip, who died in 2021, was the son of Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark and Princess Alice of Battenberg.
His uncle was King Constantine I, the grandfather of Queen Sofía.
In a moving letter sent to Queen Elizabeth last April after her husband’s death, King Felipe and his wife Letizia showed great warmth for their British cousins.
The letter read:
‘Dear Aunt Lilibet,
We were deeply saddened to hear of the passing of our dear Uncle Philip.
At this painful time, we would like to convey to you our deepest condolences on behalf of the Spanish Government and the people and all our closeness and support.
We will never forget the occasions we were able to share with him and the legacy of service and dedication to the Crown and the United Kingdom that he always carried out at your side. Our thoughts and prayers are with Your Majesty and the whole family. With all our love and affection,’
It demonstrates how well the British and Spanish royal families get on.
There has long been frequent correspondence between the various monarchs and their overseas cousins and they always attend each other’s royal nuptials.
The last time Queen Elizabeth came to Spain however, was in 1988, when she visited Mallorca.
She spent two days on the island that October with Prince Philip and the previous monarch, King Juan Carlos I and Sofia, who were waiting for them in Mallorca’s port on arrival.
During their visit to Mallorca, they visited many local beauty spots, including Camp de Mar, la Mola, Andratx, Valldemossa and Palma.
The Spanish media reported that both of them were wearing ‘very summery clothes’ even though it was autumn.
During their stay they spent time onboard the royal boat, El Fortuna, with the Duke of Badajoz, Luis Gomez Acebo, and Pilar de Borbon.
They visited the royals residence on the island, the Palacio de Marivent, which is the holiday palace of the Spanish Royal Family.
After having lunch, they went to visit Valldemossa and the Sierra de Tramuntana.
They reportedly went home very happy with the way they had been treated by the Spanish Royal Family during their stay.
The last time that the Spanish Royal family met Queen Elisabeth was in 2019 when King Felipe was decorated with the prestigious Order of the Garter at Windsor Castle.
The king visited with his glamorous wife Letizia and the pair were photographed at various different events with the Queen and Prince Charles during the visit.
Curiously, neither the King of Spain, nor Queen Elizabeth, were the most titled or noble royals in Europe.
That honour went to the Duquesa de Alba, Cayetana Fitz-James Stuart, who had more titles than anyone else in Europe.
According to folklore, she could cross the whole of Spain without leaving her land and should she have met the Queen of England formally, the Queen should have had to curtsey to her.
Fortunately this never happened as the Duchess – who was also known as Cayetana de Alba – had a very close relationship with Queen Elisabeth.
They became friends when Cayetana studied in London and she remained a lifelong lover of the city, frequently visiting throughout her life.
The duchess, who died in 2014, told the Olive Press in an exclusive interview a decade ago that she had indeed ‘loved living in London’ and that her favorite shops were Selfridges and Marks & Spencer.
“I always stay at Claridges when I am there, it’s divine,” she said. “I love visiting all the art galleries and watching operas.”
For the record, her full name was: María del Rosario Cayetana Paloma Alfonsa Victoria Eugenia Fernanda Teresa Francisca de Paula Lourdes Antonia Josefa Fausta Rita Castor Dorotea Santa Esperanza Fitz-James Stuart y de Silva Falcó y Gurtubay.