The Royal Palace of Madrid periodically hosts official ceremonies to receive a Head of State. The ceremony is regal and awe-inspiring. If you have royal fever, thanks in part to the recent coronation of King Charles III in England, there are many royal traditions, palaces, and ceremonies to admire in Spain, a southern neighbor of the United Kingdom.
Because it is Spain’s capital city, many leaders of other countries visit and meet The King in Madrid. Though Spain has a governmental president, Spanish tradition is still steeped in the monarchy.
Currently, Spain’s royal couple is King Felipe VI and his wife, Queen Letizia, who attended the coronation of King Charles III in the UK. But Spain has plenty of news-worthy regal pomp and circumstance.
Here are inspiring photos from the official ceremony to welcome Colombia's President, a Head of State from South America, to Spain at the Palacio Real de Madrid.
The courtyard of the Palacio de Real Madrid, or Royal Palace of Madrid, is set to receive a Head of State, President of Columbia Gustavo Petro, and First Lady, Verónica Alcocer García. Royal Guard members are in front of the palace, and two flags are raised on top of the building — left is the flag of Spain, and right is the Royal Standard of Spain, The King’s flag.
The Spanish flag forever flies above the Royal Palace of Madrid. The flag showing the royal coat of arms (the Royal Standard of Spain, or King’s Flag) is only raised when the King is at the palace. Though it is the official residence of the royal family, they do not live at the palace. Instead, it is used for state ceremonies. It is open to tourists for a ticketed price when not being used for official business.
While the military units participating in a ceremony to receive a Head of State and the Solemn Changing of the Guard are practically the same, the series of events during the parade differs. The Changing of the Guard is a ceremony to purely switch stationed guards, while the reception for a Head of State is an event focused on honors.
Military members, in the distance on the left, wait to fire cannons as part of the official ceremony to receive a Head of State. The occasion is receiving the President of Columbia with honors at the Royal Palace in Madrid. When Royal Artillery is in charge of this part of the ceremony, they showcase ancient artillery deployment, including the shooting of canons.
Spain bought three Rolls Royce Phantom IV models in 1952: one convertible and two hard tops. The Royal Guard drives and maintains the cars. The model used in the reception of a Head of State (seen here for the President of Columbia) is also regularly used by the Royal Family for important events throughout the year.
A close-up look at the receiving area of the Royal Palace of Madrid. The first of two of the palace’s Roman-themed statues of Spain’s King Charles III welcomes guests to this area; the sculpture stands in front of a marble wall and pink columns, illuminated by beautiful gold sconces. The space sets the tone for the Grand Staircase steps that starts opposite the sculpture.
The port cochere area of the palace, where horse-drawn carriages and cars have received royalty and dignitaries for centuries, is also where tourists enter for a palace tour. Dignitaries are still received here.
The Grand Staircase of the Royal Palace of Madrid has two flights of stairs made from Spanish marble, totaling 70 steps. It is an opulent room that impresses all who visit. A striking ceiling painting illustrates Spain’s Triumph of Religion and Church.
View of the ceiling above the Grand Staircase at the Palacio de Real Madrid. The room design consists of Baroque and Neoclassical elements.
Two lions are positioned on the left and right sides of the first landing of the Grand Staircase inside the Royal Palace of Madrid. Artists Robert Michel and Felipe de Castro each created a lion. One looks up towards the ceiling and the other down at the stairs as guests enter the palace.
A flag with the Royal Coat of Arms greets all who enter Madrid’s palace, whether for regularly scheduled tours or official ceremonies. It is in front of the second sculpture of King Charles III, who is dressed in a Roman toga. He was the first monarch to occupy the new palace after it was built in the 18th century.
The Royal Guard enters the gates of Plaza de Armenia that lead to the palace several times throughout the official ceremony to receive a Head of State. The ceremony lasts between 45 minutes and an hour.
While tourists can normally buy tickets to tour several palace rooms, visits stop while scheduled Solemn Changing of the Guard occurs and during official ceremonies, such as this.
Spain’s Rolls Royce Phantom IV (pictured) is used by foreign delegations. But the Royal Guards use additional historical cars to add to the official caravan. This includes a 1971 Cadillac Eldorado and four 1991 Cadillac Brougham vehicles.
An official ceremony at the Royal Palace of Madrid is free for visitors to watch from outside the palace gates. Police tape ropes off the line visitors may not cross. The best viewing spot is in front of Catedral de la Almudena, which is adjacent to the palace.
After the ceremony, the royal horses return to the Royal Palace Stables and then to the Royal Guard Stables.
The entirety of The Royal Guard is represented in the ceremony through its Groups of Honours, Escorts, Logistics, and Support, as well as the Military Band.
Royal Guard on motorcycles, not just on horseback or on foot, are a part of the official Head of State reception ceremony.
The Solemn Changing of the Guard takes place only once a month. However, many similarities exist between the ceremony pictured here and the Solemn Changing of the Guard.
More than 400 royal guards and approximately 70 horses are involved in the events. Both take place at the Royal Palace and, mainly, in Plaza de la Armería.
While an official ceremony to receive a Head of State only takes place once in a while, the Solemn Changing of the Guard takes place every first Wednesday of the month. The usual Changing of the Guard, which is less opulent than the Solemn Changing of the Guard, takes place every Wednesday and Saturday at the Prince Gate of the Royal Palace, which faces Plaza de Oriente. This toned-down ceremonial Changing of the Guard involves four horses, four riders, and 12 footguards.
The route of this particular ceremony left the palace and followed Calle de Mayor. However, the routes of cars depend on the authorities' agenda. Check out more Interesting info about Spain: