The Pope is welcomed by Spanish royals and huge crowds in Madrid

The World Youth Day celebrations in Madrid moved up a gear with the arrival of His Holiness the Pope.

The Pontiff was greated by a row of trumpeters, a red carpet, and Spanish royalty.

King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia greeted the Catholic leader on the tarmac before he was whisked away in the Popemobile to complete his busy itinerary.

Early on Friday he was also greeted by Crown Prince Felipe, Princess Letizia and Infanta Elena together with their children.

The visit marks Pope Benedict XVI's third trip to Spain but it's the first on such a large scale.

World Youth Day has brought over 1.5 million pilgrims to the capital city for a week of celebrating the young population within the Catholic faith.

Notable events on his schedule are a grand mass in Madrid's Plaza Cibeles on Sunday and a meeting with 103-year-old Sister Teresita who has left her convent for the first time in 84 years to see the spiritual leader.

Crowds have braved soaring temperatures in the captial for a glimpse of the 84-year-old.