Seven things we learned during the Spanish royal visit to United States

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Seven things we learned during the Spanish royal visit to United States
The Spanish royals met with the Obamas on September 16th. Photo: Casa Real

As King Felipe and Queen Letizia's US trip draws to a close on Friday, The Local takes a look at seven things the world learned from the royal visit.


Felipe has a great English accent

Unlike the Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy, Felipe VI conversed easily with President Obama. And revealed his English accent sounds ever so slightly like former James Bond, Sean Connery’s. He highlighted Spain's "strong American identity" during a speech following a seminar entitled "A Transatlantic Conversation". 

Letizia likes gardening

Or at least pretended to while being shown around the White House’s organic garden by First Lady Michelle Obama.

Felipe studied in the US

King Felipe graduating from Georgetown University in 1995. Photo: Jamal Wilson/AFP

The Spanish monarch visited his alma mater Georgetown University during the trip. He graduated with a Master of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service in 1995. Being so far from home must have been difficult for the future king, but at least he had a familiar roommate - his cousin, Crown Prince Pavlos of Greece.

Felipe is still a bit iffy on kissing protocol 

AFP Photo/Pool/Casa Real/Francisco Gomez

On greeting US First Lady Michelle Obama, King Felipe went in for the gentlemanly hand-kiss, but despite bringing her hand up towards his lips, quickly thought better of it, resulting in possibly the most awkward greeting of the monarch’s US trip (watch the clip below). 

Obama wants to visit Spain

The US President told reporters during a joint press conference with King Felipe that he is aiming to visit Spain before the end of his term. "I hope that I can travel to Spain before the end of my presidency. There’s no country that I’d enjoy more for a visit. And I think that sentiment is shared by the American people. We feel a great affinity and a great friendship with the Spanish people," Obama said.

King Felipe responded: "Mr President, I would like to stress the fact that we would very much enjoy and appreciate to see you in Spain and if it’s possible before you finish your term, we would very gladly welcome the opportunity."

Obama’s view on Catalonia

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP

Stepping into a thorny Spanish political issue, President Obama told King Felipe that he wants to see the country “strong and unified” amid a strong independence drive in Catalonia.

"As a matter of foreign policy, we are deeply committed to maintaining a relationship with a strong and unified Spain," Obama said, sitting beside the new monarch. "We think that Spain's presence is important not only in Europe, but also in the United States and also in the world."

The oldest town in the US is Spanish

On Friday, the Spanish royals are due to visit St Augustine in northern Florida to celebrate the town’s 450th anniversary. The city - San Agustin in Spanish - was founded by Spaniard Pedro Menédez de Avilés on September 8th 1565. 

Queen Letizia's birthday

The Spanish queen turned 43 on September 15th. She was born in Oviedo, the capital of the northern Spanish region of Asturias. 


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