Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, arrived in Bratislava on Thursday morning, for their first ever visit to Slovakia. The Queen began her two-day stay at the Presidential Palace, where she was welcomed by Slovak President Ivan Gasparovic.
Presents were exchanged between the royal couple and President Gasparovic and his wife; with Prince Philip receiving a fujara, a traditional Slovak musical instrument.
There was a visit to Devin Castle in the afternoon, where the Queen unveiled a new Iron Curtain Memorial, a monument designed by Slovak artist Milan Lukac. The Queen also met with Slovak WWII veterans that fought with Britain in the war against the Nazis and Sir Nicholas Winton, aged 99, who saved 669 Jewish children from Czechoslovakia, from being transported to concentration camps during WWII. Some of those Slovak children were present as well.
Earlier in the day, the Queen had watched traditional Slovak folk dancers perform in Primacialny Square, in Bratislava’s Old Town, as well as attending a Reception and Lunch at the Governor’s Palace, given by the British Ambassador to Slovakia, His Excellency Mr. Michael Roberts.
In the evening, there was a ceremonial banquet held by the President, at the Reduta, in Bratislava. During the banquet, the Queen gave a rousing speech, heralding ties between Great Britain and Slovakia, as well as declaring that she and Prince Philip are “… so very pleased to be joining you here in recognition of what I hope will be an ever-deepening friendship for many years to come.”
A link to the Queen’s Speech in full.