Prince Charles and Camilla make their first official visit to Spain

Britain’s Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall have been in Spain this week on a three-day visit as part of a longer tour that also includes Portugal and Morocco. This their first official visit to this country as a couple.
Charles and Camilla were met at Madrid’s Pardo palace on Wednesday by Spain’s Prince Felipe and Letizia. The chemistry between the two future kings and their wives was evident from the initial smiles and kisses followed by animated conversation, only interrupted by a 21-gun salute from the Royal Guard, and the playing of the national anthems. The faint of one of the soldiers briefly interrupted the protocol of the ceremony.
During their stroll through the capital’s Plaza Mayor the couple greeted flag-waving schoolchildren from King’s College, Madrid, as well as assuring the locals in the crowds that, yes, they do like Spain.
Later that evening, after a reception with representatives of the British community in Spain, Charles and Camilla joined the Prince and Princess of Asturias again for a gala dinner along with 126 guests. The friendly atmosphere continued between the two couples, although this did not prevent Prince Felipe from bringing up the thorny issue of Gibraltar in his speech, otherwise full of praise and affection for his guests. He expressed his desire for their respective authorities “to make progress towards a solution to the historical and bilateral dispute that is still open”.
The main motive behind this official visit, however, was to promote business relations and collaboration between the two countries, with an emphasis on environmental issues. On Thursday Prince Charles met up with Spanish business leaders to discuss the transition to a low carbon economy as well as visiting the Repsol centre for biomass development in Mostoles near Madrid.
Prince Charles’s agenda on Thursday also included a meeting with Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero at the Moncloa Palace before rejoining Camilla for a ceremony at Madrid City Hall where the Prince was presented with the ‘golden keys’ to the city. Lunch with King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofía followed.
Today, Friday, the royal couple visit Seville, where they will attend a reception to celebrate commercial relations between the UK and Andalucía.
“Thank you for your support”
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall attended a British community event at the residence of Her Majesty’s Ambassador in Madrid
On the first day of their official visit to Spain this week, Prince Charles and his wife Camilla attended a reception hosted by the British Ambassador for representatives of organisations that work with or for the British community in Spain.
Before the arrival of the royal couple at the Ambassador’s residence, an introduction was given by the Deputy Ambassador Emma Boggis, who explained some of the work done by the Embassy and Consulates, and how they increasingly work in partnership with the voluntary sector and with the Spanish authorities, encouraging the British population to integrate into local society and delivering assistance to those who are vulnerable, either because they are struggling financially or through isolation, old age or illness. Many members of the British community volunteer or carry out fundraising activities to support the work of charities, and the English speaking media also play a key role in publicising the work being done. With up to a million British nationals living in Spain for all or part of the year, she said, this work is vital, adding a request that those were present at the reception pass on the message of thanks to all their associates and colleagues.
The royal couple then joined the party, mingling with all the guests and thanking them individually for their contribution to the welfare of British residents in Spain. The Duchess of Cornwall took a keen interest in the role of SUR in English, talking to Eve Browne and Liz Parry about the service provided to the community over the past 27 years, while Prince Charles spent time talking to representatives of ACASA, a charity founded jointly by Age UK, (of which he is Patron), Age Concern España and the British Embassy.
Amongst the many organisations represented at the reception were military charities, including some volunteers working in Spain, and The Royal British Legion, which has branches throughout Spain with a network of volunteers who help support elderly and vulnerable ex service personnel and their families, and carry out a Poppy Appeal every year.
Other charities invited to meet their Royal Highnesses were Cudeca, Smiles Charity, the Graves Foundation, Mariposas, the Rotary Club, the Red Cross, SHE (a helpline for women), Probus, Age Care, Friends of the Fallen, University of the Third Age, Alzheimers Association and the Samaritans.
Source: Sur in English