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Details announced about first Colombian State Visit

His Excellency Juan Manuel Santos Calderón, the President of the Republic of Colombia, will undertake the first State Visit from Colombia to the United Kingdom from 1 to 3 November, and the itinerary has been released.

Accompanied by his wife, Mrs María Clemencia Rodríguez de Santos, President Santos will stay at Buckingham Palace as a guest of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip.

The Colombian President and his wife will arrive privately on 31 October and will be greeted at Stansted Airport by The Viscount Hood, Lord-in-Waiting, on behalf of the Queen.

The first day of the Colombian State Visit begins with the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall greeting the President and Mrs Santos at the Rosewood London Hotel. They will then travel to the Horse Guards Parade where the President will receive a ceremonial welcome from the Queen and Prince Philip. A state carriage procession will then take the Royal Couple and the Colombian First Couple to Buckingham Palace for a private lunch, and then for a tour in the Picture Gallery of pieces from the Royal Collection relating to Colombia.

The afternoon will see the Colombian First Couple at Westminster Abbey to lay a wreath at the Grave of the Unknown Warrior; and to the Palace of Westminster, where they will be welcomed by the Speaker of the House of Commons and the Lord Speaker. President Santos will address parliamentarians and guests in the Robing Room and meet with members. Afterwards, the President and Mrs Santos will join Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall for tea at Clarence House.

That evening, a State Dinner will be held at Buckingham Palace, with speeches by Her Majesty and the President.

On 2 November, President Santos will host a breakfast at Buckingham Palace for British business leaders and attend the Colombia Business Forum at Mansion House.

“The event will build on the two countries’ cooperation in bilateral trade and two-way investment,” per the operational note regarding the visit.

Afterwards, the President and the Prince of Wales will attend the Natural History Museum for biodiversity and scientific collaboration in Colombia. They will then proceed to the Darwin Centre for exhibits featuring Colombia from the Natural History Museum, the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, and other organisations.

For lunch, the President will visit Prime Minister Theresa May at No. 10 Downing Street; then visit the Churchill War Rooms.

Afternoon engagements include visiting the London Centre of Economics and paying a visit to Bucking Palace by The Right Honourable Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of the Opposition.

The President and Mrs Santos will then join the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester for a banquet at Guildhall given by the Lord Mayor, the Lord Mountevans, and the City of London Corporation.

The final day of the Colombian State Visit begins with the First Couple bidding farewell to the Queen and Prince Philip at Buckingham Palace.

The President will then head to Belfast for a series of engagements, including a formal greeting at the Belfast City Airport by Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of the County Borough of Belfast and the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

The President will visit the First Minister and deputy First Minister, as well as the Secretary of State for talks. He will attend a lunch at Titanic Belfast, billed as a “business and civic lunch,” before visiting Girdwood Community Hub, where he will meet with community leaders to discuss “the challenges of community reconciliation post-conflict.”

That evening, the Colombian First Couple will attend a reception at Mary Ward House in London for the Colombian Community.

The State Visit wraps up the next morning with the Lord Chamberlain bidding farewell to the President and Mrs Santos on behalf of the Queen.

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