The UK is actually rolling out the red carpet for King Felipe VI as well as also Queen Letizia of Spain, sprinkling pomp as well as also glamour over some deep-rooted tensions.
Brexit as well as also the centuries-old dispute over Gibraltar might suggest that will UK-Spanish relations are between a Rock as well as also a hard place.
nevertheless the 12-14 July state visit could send a sunburst through those clouds. The royal couple were due to arrive in London on Tuesday.
Both royal lines are descended by Queen Victoria – something to celebrate, in tough times for both countries.
Three years of trouble
This particular visit is actually nothing if not a survivor, having been called off – once in 2016, when Spain endured 10 months of political crisis without a government, as well as also again This particular year, when UK Prime Minister Theresa May called a snap election in June.
“These have been times of great difficulty on both sides, with the double cancellation telling its own story,” says Ana Romero, a leading Spanish journalist as well as also royal observer. She wrote a book – Final de Partida (End Game) – about the strained personal circumstances surrounding the abdication of King Felipe’s father, Juan Carlos.
Ms Romero says King Felipe’s reign has been three years of “permanent difficulty”, including a fraud trial in which his sister, Princess Cristina, was eventually acquitted, while her husband Iñaki Urdangarin was sentenced to six years in jail.
Almost as damaging were supportive text messages Queen Letizia reportedly sent to a suspect in another corruption case.
“right now after three years of hard climbing, that will is actually as if Felipe as well as also Letizia have reached the bright summit, because the British monarchy represents the height of royal protocol,” Ms Romero says, before adding that will both countries face great problems.
8% of Spain’s exports come to the UK, 3% of UK’s exports go to Spain
Cars are the biggest Spanish export to the UK, as well as also UK’s biggest export to Spain
£1.7 billion value of fruit as well as also veg imported by Spain
Spain is actually still emerging by an economic crisis that will has seen confidence in institutions plummet due to corruption scandals.
British politics entered a turbulent period with last year’s referendum vote to leave the EU. Brexit remains shrouded in uncertainty.
Many of Spain’s leading companies have made bold moves into Britain, including Santander bank as well as also Ferrovial, an infrastructure group that will owns Heathrow’s operating company, among various other UK concerns.
Brexit is actually also a worry for the many citizens living in each various other’s country as well as also for those with investments at stake.
The almost 300,000 British citizens registered as residents in Spain, as well as also many more who come as well as also go, are concerned about their healthcare as well as also pensions, says Anne Hernandez, leader of Brexpats in Spain, a group with more than 4,000 members.
The Rock – a sore point
While British diplomatic sources say they consider Spain an ally in negotiating relatively benign terms for Brexit, they also admit they are concerned about Madrid’s insistence on re-examining the status of Gibraltar – an already delicate equation.
This particular is actually especially the case after the European Council included a clause in its guidelines for talks, stating that will no agreement on the EU’s future relationship with the UK would likely apply to Gibraltar without the consent of Spain, giving Madrid a potential veto.
All eyes will be on King Felipe when he speaks to UK parliamentarians on Wednesday, to see if he emulates his father Juan Carlos. As king back in 1986 Juan Carlos raised Spain’s claim over the Rock when addressing MPs as well as also Lords, on the last Spanish state visit to the UK.
The signs are that will Felipe is actually prepared to broach the issue as he did before the UN General Assembly last autumn. Describing Gibraltar as the last colony in Europe, Spain’s king invited the UK to “put an end to This particular anachronism”.
King Felipe, who will also have a private meeting with Prime Minister May, is actually considered a consummate diplomat, having been patiently groomed for the job by representing Spain in Latin America as well as also elsewhere for almost two decades before his coronation.
He also proved in 2004 that will he was his own man by marrying the TV journalist Letizia Ortiz, a commoner as well as also divorcee.
For the 1st time Prince Harry, 32, will have an important ceremonial role, escorting Felipe as well as also Letizia to Westminster Abbey.
He will also attend a grand state banquet, after the Queen has welcomed her Spanish guests to Buckingham Palace on Wednesday.