His Excellency Don Juan Carlos
On the 25th and 26th November 2009, in the afternoon King Juan Carlos of Spain arrived at Malta’s International Airport to start a two-day official visit. This is the first time that a Spanish Head of State visits the country.
It was expected that Queen Sofia would be accompanying the King in this journey, however she canceled at the last minute due an indisposition. His Majesty was welcomed by the President of the Republic of Malta, Mr. George Abela, and his wife, Mrs. Margaret Abela and also Malta’s Prime Minister, Mr. Lawrence Gonzi and the Spanish ambassador María Isabel Vicandi.
The King’s first activity was a meeting with the Spanish collectivity living in Malta, afterward he moved to the Presidential Palace to attend an official dinner that the President of Malta and his wife hosted in his honor. Prior the dinner, the President received from King Juan Carlos the Collar of the Isabel la Católica Order and the Grand Cross of the same order to his wife, the king received from the President the Collar of the Malta’s Order of Merit.
“Malta and Spain share a historical relation, a strategic bet for the Mediterranean, and a close, mature and privileged bilateral relations, with many possibilities of future,” King Juan Carlos addressed the President.
Today the King will lay flowers at the War Memorial of Floriana, afterwards he will meet with the President of the Labour Party, and then he will move to Auberge de Castille to attend the reception that the Prime Minister will host in his honour. His Majesty along with the Prime Minister will visit the Upper Barrakka Gardens.
In the afternoon an official ceremony will take place at the St. George Square where His Majesty will be farewell by the President of Malta, and the King will leave Malta headed back to Spain.
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State Visit to Malta, 23 to 26 November 2005
The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh visited the Mediterranean island of Malta for four days, during which time Her Majesty opened the biennial Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting.
The Royal party were greeted with an official arrival ceremony in St George's Square in Valletta, Malta's capital city. The Queen inspected a Guard of Honour before walking to the Palace where she was received by the President of Malta, Dr Edward Fenech-Adami. Her Majesty and His Excellency then exchanged gifts and decorations.
The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh, accompanied by the Minister for Gozo, then visited the Law Courts and a War Memorial in Floriana where Her Majesty laid a wreath and met veterans.
In the evening a State dinner was held in The Queen's honour at which Her Majesty spoke of her affection for the island and its people which she had come to know well during her time on the island over fifty years ago.
The Queen, as Princess Elizabeth, lived in Malta from 1949 to 51, whilst The Duke of Edinburgh was stationed on the island as a serving Royal Navy officer.
In her speech, Her Majesty recalled the bravery of the islanders during the Second World War which earned them a George Cross, before looking forward to future collaborations between Malta and The United Kingdom:
'Mr. President, it is in our interests bilaterally, in the Commonwealth, and in the European Union that we should work together to build on the unique ties of history and shared sacrifice, to reaffirm the values we hold in common, and to reinvigorate the partnership between our two countries.'
On day two of the visit, The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh met the leader of the opposition at San Anton Palace, before planting an olive tree in the grounds to mark their visit.
They viewed a local youth music event, opened the Grand Harbour Marina, and attended a reception onboard HMS Illustrious before attending a lunch hosted by the Prime Minister at the Auberge de Castille.
The Duke of Edinburgh undertook separate engagements at the Maritime Institute of Malta College where he viewed signalling and seamanship displays by students. He also visited De La Rue Limited, a British company based in Malta.
In the evening, The Queen hosted a reception at Hotel Phoenicia in Floriana.
On the final full day of their visit, The Queen opened the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. Her Majesty elaborated on the theme of the meeting: 'Networking the Commonwealth for Development', in her speech:
'There are almost limitless opportunities to join forces across the Commonwealth ... Such connections allow us to transfer ideas, technical expertise, funding, and other forms of support.'
The Queen then had private meetings with a number of heads of government in her capacity as Head of the Commonwealth.
Meanwhile, The Duke of Edinburgh visited the neighbouring island of Gozo where he laid a wreath and met veterans at Independence Square in Victoria, unveiled a sculpture at the Ministry for Gozo and visited the Ggantija Temples, one of the most important archaeological sites in Malta. His Royal Highness also visited the Magro Brothers Food Factory.
On their final day, The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh visited the Eden Foundation in Zetjun which helps educate children and adults with mental disabilities, where they unveiled a plaque, before attending the official departure ceremony at Malta Airport.