G’day mate! Spanish Monarchs Say Hello from Down Under

  June 28, 2009 at 2:17 am by

The opening of Australia’s first Instituto Cervantes center was among the key highlights of King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofi­a’s latest state visit to Australia. The visit comes at the heels of the King and Queen’s state visit to neighboring New Zealand, which ended just a day before they arrived in Oz.

View the image at Reuters

They were greeted by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, Australian opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull, and Governor-General Quentin Bryce as they arrived in Canberra. The welcoming ceremony featured a traditional aboriginal welcome, the first time for the Australian government to do so. PM Rudd has incorporated the traditional welcome into their formal government welcome ceremonies as part of their government’s efforts to build closer ties with the Aborigines, who were Australia’s original inhabitants.

View the image at Reuters

Thursday was the big day for Instituto Cervantes de Sydney. Located in Chippendale, the six-storey Federation-styled center is a long-awaited one, as Instituto has already established a number of centers in Asia-Pacific. “I am certain that this centre shall become a benchmark of communication and culture which will enrich the dynamic and cosmopolitan character of this admirable and very lovable city of Sydney,” King Juan Carlos remarked in Spanish during the opening (Sydney Morning Herald).

They were later escorted through a tour of the Royal Australian Navy Heritage Center in Garden Island. Queen Sofi­a also visited with musicians at Sydney’s famed landmark, the Opera House.

The last day was spent at a Spanish-Australian business summit. The meeting opens up trade opportunities for both countries, with a highlight on the defense industry. An Australian water corporation was also to sign a contract with two Spanish firms in the presence of the King, Australian Trade Secretary Anthony Byrne said.

This is the second state visit to Australia for the Spanish monarchs. Their first was in 1988, when they attended the Brisbane expo. The Spanish royal family also attended the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

TRF has pics and news articles about the visit, so do check the thread out.

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