King Felipe VI of Spain in London 


King Felipe VI of Spain had an audience with King Charles III at Clarence House ahead of a Gala Dinner marking the 135th Anniversary of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce in the United Kingdom at the Landmark Hotel in London. The King arrived RAF Northolt in the afternoon, and departed for Spain after the Gala.

Spanish State Visit to Britain in 1986 | British State Visit to Spain in 1988 | Spanish State Visit to Britain in 2017 | Royal Holiday at the Marivent Palace | Royal Holiday in Spain 


King Felipe gave a speech, highlighting his close ties to the British Royal Family: 

First of all, I would like to thank you for this invitation to celebrate together the 135th Anniversary of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce in the United Kingdom. It was 10 years ago that both Queen Letizia and I (then as Prince and Princess of Asturias) had the honour and pleasure to join you for a similar −and also special− occasion: your 125th anniversary. This time she cannot be with us, but she did ask me to pass on her regards and happy anniversary wishes.

 This is my first time in the UK since we attended the funeral of the late Queen Elizabeth II. Therefore, allow me tonight, to begin my remarks by paying tribute to one of the greatest monarchs of British history. It will probably take years, if not decades, to fully understand her legacy, after 70 years of service as Queen and Head of State.

In my family, we keep very fond memories of the many occasions we have shared with her, with Prince Philip, the late Duke of Edinburgh, and all the British Royal Family. And, of course, Queen Letizia and I remember very specially our State Visit to the United Kingdom in July 2017. That was Prince Philip’s last State Visit beside the Queen, as hosts, before he soon later discharged his duties and we always thanked him for that gesture.

Today, this strong affinity continues, and I am certain it will develop and prosper in new ways. I wish the best to HM King Charles III as he rises to meet the challenges of a modern, 21st Century Monarchy, in a country with global significance and responsibilities. In Spain, we certainly look forward to receiving him, and Camila −the Queen Consort−, for a State Visit or whatever the occasion may be.

At this point, I would like to thank King Charles for his welcome today at Clarence House. An extraordinarily warm meeting between two parliamentary monarchs united by family and personal ties.

Of course, I also wish the new Prince and Princess of Wales much success in their new responsibilities, in the wake of such an extensive and remarkable experience they are to follow and continue, indeed with their own touch and personality.

Ladies and gentlemen,

History bounds Spain and the United Kingdom by ancient and deep-rooted ties. Not always have we agreed on everything but, indeed, what our two nations have often done is to lead History while looking beyond the Oceans.

Since the first Spanish globalisation, in the 16th century, and the first British Industrial Revolution to the globalisation of today, Spain and the UK have always lead the way with a personality of their own. We are both now solid democracies. We share the same values and principles of freedom, pluralism and solidarity.

Back in 1886, the world was radically different and yet, we —Spaniards— were already establishing a permanent trading mission in London. The Spanish Chamber of Commerce in the United Kingdom was founded after the crucial Trade Agreement accepted by both British and Spanish trade negotiators, in which, for the first time in our long histories, we applied reciprocally “the most favoured nation clause”.

The latter meant that Britain and Spain committed to apply the best possible standards to their treatment of each other in their trade relationships. Since then, this clause has formed the basis of all our trade agreements. As you know, it is nowadays the cornerstone of the WTO and, of course, the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the UK and the EU, which governs our current trade relations (after Brexit).

Many events have taken place over those 135 years, some of them very difficult, many others hopeful and successful. It is undeniable that, during all that time, both of our countries have traded with and invested in each other. Indeed, throughout that time, the Spanish Ch.Com. has helped −in the UK− to promote the best interests of the economic relationship between our nations.

The long history of this Chamber teaches us that good principles and good will are essential to overcome most obstacles. Both our Kingdoms are advanced economies that share the same values and, for that reason and our geographic proximity, we are top rate trade partners.

Spain is not only a friend of the UK but also an important ally in several fields. Our relation is stronger than ever and Spanish companies are participating in many large projects and initiatives that transform and develop the British economy. This country is the 2nd destination for Spanish FDI direct investment and that is why when Spanish companies go abroad, they are very likely to come to this country. The dynamism, growth and importance of this Chamber is an eloquent example of this.

In fact, being such a special meeting point for British and Spanish businesses here, it is no surprise that 4 years ago you would so adequately create the “Barometer of Spanish Investments in the UK”, which every year analyses Spanish investments in this country and gathers representatives from both governments.

I would like to thank the Board for the extraordinary work it does. Voluntary work, in whichever shape it may come, surely makes our societies better. We would not be here otherwise. There is commitment, there is sense of duty and above all, there is a strong desire to strengthen the bilateral relations and exchanges between our both countries.

I would also like to thank all the Spanish companies present here tonight, especially those of you who travelled from Spain −as I did− to take part in this celebration. Many of you play an essential role in key sectors like construction, infrastructure, financial services or telecommunications.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Today, as we celebrate this 135 th anniversary, I would like to congratulate one of our oldest chambers of commerce, out of close to 50 that operate around the world. With this anniversary, we are celebrating the continuity and importance of economic links, which are and always will be, above all, links that help our societies prosper −both here in the UK and in Spain−, and bring our citizens, corporations and institutions much closer together.

The world and indeed Britain have drastically changed in the last few years. In Europe, we now witness a war that challenges the foundations upon which we have built our societies. Even so, however the seriousness of that war −let alone the tragic loss of life and destruction suffered by Ukraine− and the myriad of economic political and social consequences worldwide, we still have −the United Kingdom and the Kingdom of Spain− an extraordinary opportunity to build on the solid foundation of our historic relationship.

We, therefore, ought to continue our quest in order to make real our aspirations for a more prosperous future in both of our great nations. To achieve this, institutions that enhance the efforts of both our governments and civil societies, like this same Chamber are and will remain essential.

My sincere congratulations on your 135th anniversary, and all my support in what is −I am quite sure−, your determination to keep up the good work.

Thank you very much.

Spanish State Visit to Britain in 1986 | British State Visit to Spain in 1988 | Spanish State Visit to Britain in 2017 | Royal Holiday at the Marivent Palace | Royal Holiday in Spain

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