Without decorations and a renovated Great Hall: the details of the post-Covid de los Reyes State dinner

This Tuesday, at the edge of eight thirty in the afternoon, the first post-Covid State dinner began at the Royal Palace of Madrid. Event that had not taken place since February 2019. Elections and the subsequent pandemic disrupted the real agenda to this day as far as these dinners of Honor are concerned. This Tuesday, the palace returns to decorate itself and find some normality. The Kings of Spain, Felipe VI (53 years old) and Letizia (48), have presided over a dinner in honor of the President of South Korea, Moon Jae-In (68 years old) and his wife, Kim Jung-sook (66).

The president is on a three-day state visit to Spain, in which, among other commitments, will travel to Barcelona to meet with businessmen. It has been the first trip of the highest level that a foreign president makes to Spain since February 2019, when the then president of Peru was in Madrid, Martin Vizcarra (58). It should be remembered at this point that this visit by the Korean president was scheduled for last year on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Spain and South Korea, and as a return to the one that the kings made to Seoul in October 2019.

The Kings arriving at the room where they have received the guests.

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But the pandemic prevented it. The capacity of this honorary dinner has been reduced to 50 percent and only 60 people have attended. Neither have there been decorations nor has the Queen wore a tiara, as it was not a Gala dinner. This has been agreed by the two delegations, the Spanish and the Korean, due to the coronavirus. Since this past Monday, allFrom the preparations at the Royal Palace so that everything was perfect when the guests arrived. It has been known prior to dinner that the table in the Great Hall has not been used -it is the largest in Western Europe and one of the largest in the world-, but both the hosts and the guests have been divided into round tables. In this way, it has been guaranteed the safety distance and comply with the Covid-19 regulations of no more than six diners indoors per table. This dining room stands out for its length, 400 meters, since it is the union of the three centrals of the Poniente façade, and it was inaugurated on November 29, 1879 by the kings Alfonso XII and María Cristina de Habsburgo..

There have been several things that have changed in these evenings since the arrival of the kings Felipe Y Letizia to the throne. As soon as they were proclaimed, it was decided to incorporate music into this type of dinner. When Felipe VI and the President of Korea finish with their respective words and toasts and dinner begins to be served, the symphonic band of the Royal Guard, led by Colonel Enrique Blanco Cebolla, will begin to play whatever is on the program that night.

While dinner is being eaten, the band plays in a nearby room, which makes for beautiful live music, but without disturbing conversations. The truth is that the Kings already knew the president and his wife, since they traveled to Seoul in October 2019 for a short but intense state visit. Letizia then shared an agenda with the First Lady, which in her country they call Jolly Lady, la dama alegre and with which our Queen commented that she had hit it off.

Warm welcome

This state dinner, for which the Royal Palace has been decorated again after such a long time of pandemic, has occurred after the Kings officially welcomed Moon and his wife, Kim Jung-sook, in the Plaza de the Palace Armory on Tuesday afternoon, in the traditional ceremony with honors attended by the President of the Government, Pedro Sanchez. In front of the main facade of the palace, Felipe and Letizia have waited for the Korean president and the first lady to get out of the official car to greet them with their hands on their hearts.

The kings of Spain with the president of South Korea, Moon Jae-in, and his wife Kim Jung-sook upon their arrival in Spain this Tuesday.

The kings of Spain with the president of South Korea, Moon Jae-in, and his wife Kim Jung-sook upon their arrival in Spain this Tuesday.

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After exchanging a few words and posing in front of the graphic media, the four of them with masks took up their seats to listen to the national anthems. Felipe VI and Moon have reviewed the Royal Guard honors company and, subsequently, they have greeted the authorities of both countries. The parade of the Royal Guard units has brought to an end the solemn welcoming ceremony for top-ranking visitors, which opened in February 2017.

For this warm reception, Queen Letizia has relied on a dress from Felipe Varela. It is a model that premiered for the National Holiday on October 12, 2018. In Chantilly lace with a flowing pleated skirt and delicate floral embroidery, Letizia has opted for light tones, like Kim Jung-sook, who wore a two-piece suit this Tuesday afternoon in white and baby blue.

During his stay in Madrid, the Korean president will meet with Sánchez, visit the Senate and the Madrid City Council and participate in an economic forum. On Wednesday, he will travel to Barcelona with Felipe VI to attend the opening dinner of the annual meeting of the Cerclé d’Economy. The visit will be completed on Thursday in the Catalan capital with a forum on tourism also with businessmen, although without the presence of the king..

[Más información: Letizia y las cenas de gala en palacio: del arañazo en la espalda por un corsé a las críticas por no beber alcohol]

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