24 OCTOBER 2008

A traditional Slovakian welcome was awaiting Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip as they arrived in the European country on Thursday.

The pair were presented with traditional gifts of salt and bread and treated to a colourful display of folk dancing in the capital of Bratislava as they embarked upon their first ever visit to the country, which split from the former Czechoslovakia in 1993.

After being received by president Ivan Gasparovic, who showed the royal couple around the presidential palace, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh visited Devin Castle, a cliff-top landmark on the banks of the Danube.

There the monarch met 99-year-old Sir Nicholas Winton - known as the British Schindler - and a handful of the 669 men and women the Nobel prize nominee helped transport as children out of danger during WWII.

Also on the royal itinerary is a visit to the Tatras Mountains, which form a natural border between Slovakia and Poland.

Photo: © Alphapress.com
The monarch is welcomed by Slovakia's President Ivan Gasparovic at a ceremony in the presidential palace of Grassalkovich Photo: © Getty Images
Photo: © Alphapress.com
Later in the day Sir Nicholas Winton, a Brit who helped rescue children from their fate in concentration camps during WWII, was presented to the British head of state. "It's nice to know that something one does in one's life was successful," says the 99-year-old humanitarian Photo: © Getty Images
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