King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain to visit the Queen next year

Felipe VI and his wife Letizia will make their first visit to the UK since becoming king and queen of Spain last year. The royal couple have accepted an invitation from the Queen to pay a state visit in 2016, it was announced on Thursday.

The monarchs will visit from 8 to 10 March and will stay at Windsor Castle. The castle, which is a 90-minute drive away from London, is often used by Her Majesty as her weekend home.

It is also used for state banquets and in the past Windsor has hosted visits from King Abdullah II of Jordan and former leaders President Mbeki of South Africa and President Chirac of France.


Queen Sofia, King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain attend the wedding of Prince William and Kate in 2011

Details of the itinerary have not yet been released, but royal watchers can expect to see the red carpet rolled out for Felipe and Letizia. Monarchs are usually greeted with full pomp and grandeur, including a ceremonial welcome at Horse Guards Parade.

Royal fans will also hope to see Felipe, 47, and Letizia, 43, reunited with the nation's sweethearts Prince William and Kate. The Spanish king and queen attended William and Kate's wedding in 2011 when they were still styled as the Prince and Princess of Asturias.

The royal couple were last spotted in London at the 2012 Olympic Games

The following year Felipe and Letizia returned to the capital to attend the 2012 Olympic Games. The couple flew over with Felipe's parents, King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofia of Spain, and the group were spotted cheering on their country at various events, including a basketball and handball match.

The last state visit from Spain was by King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofia in 1986. The king abdicated from the throne in June last year, but still retains his title.

As for the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, their last visit to the European country was in 1988.