King Felipe and Queen Letizia of Spain set for royal reception in Westminster on first UK state visit

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The King and Queen of Spain are set for a royal reception in Westminster on Wednesday to mark the start of a state visit which has had to be postponed twice.

King Felipe and Queen Letizia’s three-day trip was first put off due to a political crisis in Spain in March 2016 and then again when the rescheduled date clashed with June’s snap general election.

The Spanish royals, who arrived in London on Tuesday, will be formally greeted by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh on Horse Guards Parade.

It is expected to be 96-year-old Philip’s last state visit before he retires from public duties after the summer.

Security will be tight for the ceremonial welcome and carriage procession in what will be the first state visit to take place since the terror attacks in Manchester and London.

​Felipe and Letizia, who are staying at Buckingham Palace, will be feted with a grand state banquet in the ballroom on Wednesday evening – with Prince Harry and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge expected to be attending.

It will be the first time full time royal Harry, who is 32, has taken part in a state visit. On Thursday, he will accompany the royal visitors to Westminster Abbey.

The state visit is seen as an important step in securing relations with Spain as the UK leaves the EU. The last incoming state visit by a Spanish king – Felipe’s father Juan Carlos – was 31 years ago.

William and Harry have a shared history with the King. As youngsters, they holidayed with Felipe, his father King Juan Carlos and their family in Majorca several times in the 1980s. Felipe and Letizia were also guests at the Duke and Duchess’s wedding in 2011.

Warnings from TfL about road closures in central London initially sparked rumours of a surprise visit by US president Donald Trump, but they were quashed when news surfaced of the Spanish royal visit.

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