This was the first and only visit that Elizabeth II made to Spain in her 70-year reign

In October 1988 there was Queen Elizabeth II’s first visit to Spain, a first meeting with our country that also turned out to be the only one, not only in his 70 years and 214 days of reign, it also meant the First time in history that a British monarch was visiting our borders.

She was already 62 years old, Felipe González’s PSOE was in command of the Executive and Spain, according to the media of the time, had become fashionable; that summer we had exceeded 50 million tourists and the first boat had also arrived.

Felipe González and his wife Carmen Romero together with Queen Elizabeth II and Felipe de Edinburgh. EFE

Invited by King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia, Elizabeth II starred in this state visit in which King Juan Carlos I presented her with the Golden Fleece accompanied by her husband, Philip of Edinburgh. Although this scene would never be repeated again, during his reign he tried to promote the relationship between the two countries through the personal ties that linked him to the Spanish royal family.

the monarch landed at Barajas airport (Madrid) on October 17, and Juanito, as Isabel II affectionately called the king, and Queen Sofía went out of their way during the five days that the visit lasteddivided between Madrid, with a visit to El Escorial to see the tomb of Philip II, Seville and Barcelona, to which the sovereign and her husband added two days of private stay in Majorca aboard the royal yacht Britannia.

Upon landing, they were the then Prince of Asturias, Felipe VI, and the Infanta Elena who received Isabel II at the foot of the ladder and her husband, Felipe de Edinburgh, and accompanied them on their journey to the Royal Palace of El Pardo, which was their residence during their three-day stay in Madrid.

The then Prince of Asturias and Isabel II at Barajas airport. EFE

According to the chroniclers of the time, after receiving them at the airport, they had lunch with the king and queen at La Zarzuela and, at night, they were offered the first gala dinner at the Royal Palace. Isabel wore a spotless white suit and had the opportunity to talk with her cousin Juan de Borbón, the king’s father, with whom she had a private meeting two days later at her residence in Puerta de Hierro.


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