Although they weren’t here on the actual day of St. Augustine’s birth, the King and Queen of Spain are coming to town this weekend for the United States-Spain Council International Summit. The selection of St. Augustine for this year’s summit is because of the city’s 450th Commemoration. The public is graced with an opportunity to see their majesties on Friday, Sept. 18.
About the Royal Visit: Via the City of St. Augustine
During St. Augustine’s first 436 years, the reigning King and Queen of Spain visited just once. That was in 2001. Come Friday, just 15 years after the first visit, St. Augustine has the opportunity to welcome another reigning royal couple from the city’s “mother country” of Spain.
Their Majesties King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain will arrive in St. Augustine this Friday, Sept. 18, to recognize the St. Augustine 450th Commemoration through a series of ceremonies and events, and then participate in the opening dinner of the United States-Spain Council International Summit later that evening.
King Felipe VI ascended to the throne in June 2014 following the abdication of his father, Juan Carlos I.
The last visit by Spain’s monarchs to the city was in April 2001 when King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofía visited the city for approximately three hours, which included a visit to the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument and the Colonial Quarter, a walk along St. George Street and a public address from the east balcony of Government House, after which it was named The King’s Balcony.
The only opportunity for the public to see Their Majesties will be when King Felipe IV offers a public address to the people of St. Augustine from King’s Balcony of Government House at approximately noon (12:00pm) on Friday. Those wishing to hear the address should be in the Plaza de la Constitución by 11:45am.
Much of the on-street parking in downtown will be restricted on Friday, so those wishing to attend either activity should park at the Historic Downtown Parking Facility located at the St. Augustine Visitor Information Center at 10. W. Castillo Dr. The Castillo De San Marcos National Monument and its parking lot, the Lightner Museum and Government House will be closed to the public until approximately 1:00pm.
The United States-Spain Council, which holds annual meetings alternating in Spain and the Unites States, is an organization of corporate leaders, top government officials and leaders in education and culture from both countries that promotes stronger ties between the two countries. For more information about the council, visit www.usspaincouncil.org.