New Spanish royals to make debut visit to Vatican

By admin
20 June 2014

Spain's new king and queen will soon visit Pope Francis at the Vatican, marking their first foreign trip as monarchs.

Spain's new King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia will visit Pope Francis at the Vatican on their first foreign trip as monarchs, the government said Friday a day after they took the throne.

Felipe (46) a tall former Olympic yachtsman, and the elegant 41-year-old Letizia were proclaimed king and queen Thursday in a relatively modest ceremony to which no foreign leaders or royals were invited.

Now the couple, who have two blonde-haired daughters -- seven-year-old Sofia and eight-year-old Leonor, who is heir to the throne -- are to travel around Spain and abroad, palace officials say.

"The king and queen have a very busy international agenda, the Vatican first," Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo told public television TVE without giving dates.

After their visit to the Argentine pontiff, the monarchs will travel to Spain's neighbouring countries Morocco, France and Portugal, the foreign minister said, without specifying dates.

Garcia-Margallo said Felipe would attend the United Nations general assembly in New York in September where he would play a "prominent role".

Felipe will set out Spain's international policy and seek votes for the country's candidature for a seat on the UN Security Council in 2015-16, he added. Spain is vying against New Zealand and Turkey for one of the two temporary Security Council seats.

While in New York, Felipe will have a first chance as king to meet President Barack Obama. The US leader sent a message Thursday congratulating the king on his investiture and saying he looked forward to working closely with him.

- SAPA

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