Queen Sofía cancels London visit as Gibraltar tension builds

Spanish monarchy will be the only royal family absent from Jubilee celebration

Queen Sofía was to have represented Spain at the Diamond Jubilee celebrations.
Queen Sofía was to have represented Spain at the Diamond Jubilee celebrations. LUIS SEVILLANO

Queen Sofía will not travel to London on Friday to take part in Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee celebration as planned. The Royal Household issued a statement saying it did not think the trip was advisable “under current circumstances.”

The announcement, according to government sources, shows the growing tension between Spain and the United Kingdom over Prince Edward’s scheduled visit to Gibraltar from June 11-13 as part of a wider tour of British royals to overseas territories. There is also discord between the two governments over the Gibraltar authorities’ impeding the Spanish fishing fleet based at Cádiz from entering the waters that surround The Rock. Furthermore, Spain was also not amused to find that the official band of Gibraltar is to perform as part of the Jubilee program.

It is not the first time a diplomatic spat such as this has blown up. The Spanish government cried foul when Prince Charles and Diana honeymooned in Gibraltar and the episode caused a rift between the two royal houses.

The Royal House had confirmed a month ago the presence of Queen Sofía and King Juan Carlos at a lunch to be hosted by Queen Elizabeth, their cousin, at Windsor Castle and a dinner later the same day at Buckingham Palace.

Later, after King Juan Carlos fractured his hip while on a controversial elephant-hunting trip in Botswana on April 13, it was decided that Sofía would represent Spain in Britain. Now, the Spanish Royal House will be the only monarchy completely absent from the Jubilee celebrations.