King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia to begin U.S. tour
MADRID, Spain — King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia left today for a 10-day official visit to the United States that includes lunch with President Reagan and a tour of the American southwest.
A Foreign Ministry spokesman said the main purpose of the trip is to ‘project the image of a modern and democratic Spain and boost U.S.-Hispanic relations.’
He also said the visit was to ‘mark the 200th anniversary of the U.S. Constitution and give the royal couple an opportunity to see first hand the Spanish roots’ of the American southwest.
The royal couple received a 21-gun salute at Barajas Airport before boarding a Spanish air force DC-8 for Washington.
The tour will take the royal couple to Washington and New York, and to Texas, New Mexico and California, which were Spanish colonies.
The king and queen, both 49, made a state visit to the United States in October 1981.
Juan Carlos and his Greek-born wife will be luncheon guests of Reagan and Mrs. Reagan at the White House Friday.
From Washington, Juan Carlos and Sofia will fly to New York before proceeding Sunday to San Antonio, where they will visit the Alamo and the San Jose Mission.
A Spanish diplomat said the southwestern part of the U.S. tour will fulfill ‘a long-standing desire of Juan Carlos, who is especially interested in visiting California and New Mexico, to make contact with a social climate so much like Spain.’
They are to arrive Monday in Houston and continue to Santa Fe, N.M., where their visit sparked controversy over a reception guest list that included mostly people of Hispanic origin. The list was scrapped after complaints it was discriminatory.
On Wednesday, the monarchs will go to Los Angeles to meet descendents of Sephardic Jews expelled from Spain in the 15th century.
The royal couple are then scheduled to wind up their U.S. tour in California, with stops in San Francisco, Berkeley, Monterey and Carmel, where they are scheduled to meet the town’s mayor, actor Clint Eastwood.
They are to return to Spain Oct. 4.
All photos in this post are of the Spanish Royalty in Santa Fe, New Mexico.