Queen Elizabeth II of England arrived in Madrid today under sunny skies for a historic five-day state visit, the first ever by a reigning British monarch.
The visit is viewed as ushering in a new era of friendship between Britain and Spain, whose relations have been clouded for centuries by their dispute over sovereignty of Gibraltar.
Queen Elizabeth, wearing a royal blue suit and matching hat, smiled broadly as she walked from the plane and exchanged kisses with Prince Felipe, heir to the Spanish throne.
“The historic moment has come--the queen is stepping on Spanish soil,” said an anchorwoman for Spanish television, which broadcast the arrival live. “Here she is, with English punctuality, at exactly 12:20.”
From Barajas International Airport, Elizabeth and her husband, Prince Philip, drove to El Pardo Palace, where they were greeted by King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia.