King Felipe spent most of last week in Latin America, visiting former Spanish colonies of Puerto Rico and Honduras.
His Majesty’s visit to the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico for the 500th anniversary of San Juan, the island’s capital, was much anticipated by locals, many of whom cherish their Spanish roots.
The trip was particularly dramatic because vandals took down a statue of Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon, Puerto Rico’s first governor, but local officials put the statue back on its pedestal as the King was landing.
Puerto Ricans still keep the coat of arms granted by Spain and the island’s municipalities also follow Spanish heraldry for their symbols.
Many Puerto Ricans were disappointed the trip didn’t include Queen Letizia, who had other agenda items in Madrid.
Puerto Ricans are hoping the trip strengthens economic relations with Spain after several Spanish firms have reduced or pulled their presence from the island. Puerto Rico has been experiencing years of economic troubles after decades of post-World War II boom.
In Honduras, King Felipe met with incoming President Xiomara Castro, who has promised to root out corruption.
King Felipe also had a chat with U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, whose portfolio includes relations with Central America.
King Felipe has been attending Latin American presidential inaugurations for decades, first as Prince of Asturias and now as Spanish head-of-state.