Prince Charles begins official visit to Spain

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Britain's Prince Charles and his wife Camilla arrived Wednesday in Madrid from Portugal for the start of a three-day official visit to Spain which will also include a stop in Seville.

Spain's Crown Prince Felipe and his wife Letizia, the official hosts of the visit, welcomed the British royals at the Pardo Palace on the outskirts of Madrid at a ceremony that included a review of Spanish royal troops.

The heir to the British throne and his wife then met with a Spanish government delegation headed by Spanish Foreign Minister Trainidad Jimenez.

They will attend a gala dinner in their honour later on Wednesday at Spain's Royal Palace in the historic centre of Madrid where Prince Charles is expected to make a brief speech during a toast.

Prince Charles and Camilla will attend a lunch hosted by Spain's King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia at their residence, the Zarzuela Palace in Madrid, on Thursday before moving on to the southern city of Seville on Friday.

The couple will spend time at a private estate near Granada before travelling to Rabat where they will wrap up their three-nation tour.

The 10-day trip is focused on commercial and military links between Britain and the three countries.

It is the first joint visit to Spain by Prince Charles and Camilla, who were married on April 9, 2005.

In August 1987, Charles and his then wife Princess Diana spent a family holiday as guests of the Spanish royals at their summer palace on the island of Majorca, where tensions between the couple were evident.

He attended the funeral for Don Juan, the father of Juan Carlos, in April 1993 and was a guest at the May 2004 wedding of Felipe and Letizia in Madrid.

Charles and Diana's eldest son William will marry at London's Westminster Abbey on April 29.

Around one million British nationals live in Spain all or part of the year, according to Britain's embassy in Madrid.

© 2011 AFP

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