Emerging fresh-faced after a lengthy flight from Madrid to Havana, Queen Letizia showcased her effortless travel style as she arrived in Cuba alongside husband, King Felipe.
The mother-of-two, 47, teamed a striped shirt dress with brown court heels, completing the look with a statement pink bag as she stepped of a Spanish Air Force plane at Havana’s Jose Marti International Airport.
The Spanish royals who are visiting Cuba from November 11th to 14th, were met by Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez upon landing.
Their visit to the Caribbean island which is currently celebrating the 500th anniversary of Havana, has captured the attention of many because it’s the first time that Spanish royals’ have made a state visit to the former colony.
Queen Letizia, 47, arrived alongside King Felipe, 51, (pictured) in Havana, Cuba, for a four-day visit during celebrations for the 500th anniversary of Havana
The mother-of-two (pictured centre) beamed in a stripe shirt dress, as they were welcomed by Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez (pictured right)
Queen Letizia appeared in good spirits, joining King Felipe in greeting those who turned out for their arrival.
She styled her glossy brunette hair into relaxed waves with a side-parting, while opting for minimal make-up to emphasize her natural features.
The historical four-day engagement aims to highlight and strengthen the ties between Spain and Cuba, with the royals meeting key cultural and entrepreneurial figures.
Since arriving on the island, King Felipe and Queen Letizia have been received by the Spanish ambassador to Cuba, Juan Fernández Trigo, the ambassador of Cuba in Spain, Gustavo Machín and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cuba, Bruno Rodríguez.
The former colony is one of the last to gain independence from Madrid in 1898.
The capital, Havana is a magnet for millions of tourists every year and currently enjoying celebrations that reflect on its foundation on November 16th, 1519.
The royals’ (pictured) visit comes at a time of tension between the US and Cuba, in addition to chaotic street-protests aimed at King Felipe throughout Spain
However, the wider political context is anything but festive as relations with the United States have soured considerably since President Donald Trump replaced Barack Obama almost three years ago.
Washington accuses Cuba of oppressing its people and providing military support to Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro, thus helping thwart a US bid to force out the socialist leader in favor of parliament speaker Juan Guaido.
Last month Washington announced the suspension of all flights from the US to Cuba except to Havana as the Trump administration continues to roll back the improved ties instigated by Obama.
Cuba has increasingly turned towards traditional allies Russia and Venezuela for support, but also the European Union.
‘Faced with the harassment of Cuba by the Trump administration, the royal couple’s journey to the island can be interpreted as a support to economic, political, cultural relations and cooperation between Cuba and Spain,’ said Raynier Pellon, an expert at the center for international political research in Havana.
King Felipe (pictured centre) is set to meet Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel and other cultural figures during the four-day engagement
For Cuban researcher Arturo Lopez-Levy from the Holy Names University in the US, it’s ‘a clear message to the White House.’
Cuba’s third largest economic partner – after China and Venezuela – with $1.39 billion in 2018, Spain has not shied away from criticizing Trump’s policies.
Foreign minister Josep Borrell, who is accompanying the royal couple, blasted the Trump administration in May for an ‘abuse of power’ after Washington gave the green light a month earlier for Cuban exiles to use US courts to sue private companies and the Cuban government over properties nationalized after the 1959 revolution.
King Felipe will meet Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel during his visit and join Havana’s official historian Eusebio Leal for a tour of its fabled cobblestone streets.
The king will bring a self-portrait by Francisco Goya, on loan for a month by Madrid’s Prado Museum, to be displayed in Havana’s Museum of Fine Arts.
However, he and Letizia will leave the island before the official celebrations begin on Friday and Saturday, when several other Latin American leaders will attend.
Queen Letizia who styled her silky brunette hair in loose waves, appeared in good spirits as she joined King Felipe in greeting those at the airport
‘The clear reason,’ according to Carlos Malamud, a researcher from the Elcano institute in Madrid, ‘is the government’s desire to avoid awkward contact with Daniel Ortega and Nicolas Maduro.’
The left-wing presidents of Nicaragua and Venezuela who have been widely criticized by the European Union for oppressing their own people, have not yet confirmed their attendance.
The Spanish royals visit comes at a challenging time amid a backdrop of anti-royal street protests aimed at King Felipe Vi.
King Felipe’s father King Juan Carlos previously traveled to Cuba to attend an Ibero-American summit in 2016 and the funeral of Fidel Castro.
Queen Letizia and King Felipe’s trip comes just months after Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall became the first members of the British royal family to set foot in communist Cuba.
A researcher from the Elcano institute in Madrid believes that Letizia and Felipe (pictured) are not staying for Cuba’s actual anniversary to avoid ‘awkward contact with Daniel Ortega and Nicolas Maduro’
King Felipe’s father traveled to Cuba twice, attending an Ibero-American summit and for the funeral of Fidel Castro