06 June 2017

Flashback: State Visit to Spain, 1988

After yet another postponement, the 2017 Spanish state visit to the United Kingdom is on for July 12-14. That means we're on for coverage of the last state visit exchanged between the two countries.

The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh visited King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia in October 1988, returning the trip the Spanish royal couple took the the U.K. in 1986. The Queen brought with her a roster of her favorite day brooches, so we'll focus instead on two glittering evening events.

The Queen used the Delhi Durbar Parure for the big state banquet, wearing the earrings, necklace, and bracelet. But rather than continue the theme with the Grand Duchess Vladimir Tiara in its emerald setting, she stuck to diamonds and the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara.
Having exchanged lower orders at their last meeting, the two sovereigns used this opportunity for some upgrades. King Juan Carlos was given the Order of the Garter; The Queen is wearing the Order of the Golden Fleece on its red bow. (The announcement that she was granted the Collar of the Order of the Golden Fleece was issued in 1989.)

For Queen Sofia, it was another chance to wear the big Fleur de Lys Tiara, her usual choice when other monarchies came to visit.

For the rest of the Spanish royal family, it was a smorgasbord of tiaras - and unmistakably 80s fashions, too. Infanta Elena wore the Spanish Floral Tiara (close up here). Infanta Cristina wore the Prussian Diamond Tiara (close up here). A baby-faced future King Felipe was given the Royal Victorian Order.

Another glittering night on the tour saw some rubies and diamonds - the earrings and necklace from her Ruby and Diamond Swag Demi-Parure - plus something a little more rare:
A non-tiara hair ornament for Her Maj! This was not the only time in history she used one of Queen Victoria's Hair Wheat-Ear Brooches as a barrette, but they were few (another was in 1991, in the United States). For a trip where everybody involved is a descendant of Queen Victoria, it was a nice little touch. Fingers crossed, the state visit to come will involve a nice touch or two as well...