King Felipe and Queen Letizia today left Madrid for their official visit to Cuba to celebrate Havana’s 500th anniversary.
Their Majesties boarded their jet after a departure ceremony at the Terminal of State at Barajas Airport. Such ceremonies are standard for official visits abroad.
Media outlets are describing the trip as historic and a sign of closer relations between the world and Cuba.
However, news that Their Majesties will not meet with dissidents has generated concern among human rights advocates.
Spain and its companies have long had a presence in Cuba. King Juan Carlos, King Felipe’s father, has been to Cuba twice in recent years, including for former leader Fidel Castro’s funeral.
Spain’s Royal Family was in Barcelona this week for public events despite strong protests from Catalan separatists.
King Felipe, Queen Letizia, Princess Leonor and Infanta Sofia were in the city to hand out the Princess of Girona Awards.
The King suggested his very presence in the city would send a message. He said intolerance and violence had no place in Catalonia.
The King’s daughter, Princess Leonor, who is Princess of Girona, said she was proud to hold the title. She spoke at length in Catalan.
Pro-independence leaders tried to convince electoral authorities to keep the Royal Family away because of the upcoming national voting. They accuse the King of not being an impartial broker.
Several police forces have converged in Barcelona for the royal visit and the upcoming elections.
As heir to the Spanish throne, Princess Leonor holds several titles, including Princess of Asturias and of Girona.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in honored King Felipe this week for helping promote national unity in Spain.
The Korean leader’s comments came amid pro-independence demonstrations in Catalonia.
King Felipe and Queen Letizia traveled to South Korea for a state visit following their time in Japan for the emperor’s enthronement.
King Felipe and Queen Letizia will travel to Cuba next month for Havana’s 500th anniversary.
The trip will be the first for Spain’s monarchs. The country works to keep close ties with former colonies.
King Juan Carlos, King Felipe’s father, has been to Cuba twice in recent years, including for former leader Fidel Castro’s funeral.
Queen Letizia stunned royal watchers with a pink dress today, worn during events for the enthronement of Japanese Emperor Naruhito.
Queen Letizia and King Felipe were photographed attending a dinner in honor of the new emperor.
King Felipe and Queen Letizia arrived in Japan today for the enthronement of Emperor Naruhito.
King Felipe met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ahead of the enthronement ceremonies.
Leonor, the Princess of Asturias, delivered her first major public address last week as heir to the Spanish throne.
The princess recently read parts of the Spanish Constitution during an event, but last week’s remarks at the Princess of Asturias Awards were more notable.
Her Royal Highness said she was honored to hold the title of Princess of Asturias and spoke of her Asturian blood. Her mother, Queen Letizia, is from Asturias.
King Felipe had tender words for his daughter, who will soon turn 13. He told her to have courage and valor.
His words came amid violent protests in Barcelona and Madrid by Catalan pro-independence activists.
The Princess of Asturias awards are given to artists, scholars and leaders around the world.
As heir to the Spanish throne, Princess Leonor has been going through a grooming process to prepare her for public life. Last week’s speech was a key part of that effort.