Colombian President Welcomed To The UK With Traditional Pomp and Circumstance
In a ceremony full of the pageantry that Britain is renowned for, President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia was officially welcomed to the country for the first state visit of a Colombian head of state to the UK. He is being accompanied by his wife, María Clemencia Rodríguez de Santos.
Queen Elizabeth II, in a lovely pale green dress and overcoat, and the Duke of Edinburgh headed up the ceremony, where the Duke and the President inspected a guard of honour line-up by the 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards. It was then on to Buckingham Palace via horse-drawn carriage in a procession down a flag-lined Mall.
After a private lunch, the official party moved to the Gallery, where they viewed an exhibit of pieces in the Royal Archives with Colombian ties, as well photographs of the Queen with Nobel Peace Prize winners (considered appropriate as President Santos will this December be himself presented with the prize). Gifts were also exchanged between the Queen, Duke and Presidential Couple – the Queen receiving a silver filigree clutch purse, the Duke a pen made out of a recycled bullet, President Santos an album of Winston Churchill memorabilia (he is a large fan of the Prime Minister) and Mrs Santos a jewellery box.
The Queen hosted a gala banquet in the evening, where the 170 guests feasted on Dover sole in saffron cream, pot-roasted pheasant from the Windsor estate, and a mango and passionfruit cream entremet. During the dinner, both Queen Elizabeth and President Santos gave speeches which praised the bilateral relations and history between the two countries, and expressed their wish for the mutually beneficial relationship to continue for many years.
Other events in the day for the Colombian President and First Lady included a meeting with the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, as well as a wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Westminster Abbey.Filed under The United Kingdom
Tagged Bilateral Relations, Colombia, Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, President Santos of Colombia, State Visit, The Duchess of Cornwall, The Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales.