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Royal visit May first 1961

A brief royal visit to Andorra

While he was still a bachelor, on May 1st 1961, Don Juan Carlos de Bourbon, Prince of Asturias and heir to the throne of Spain, crossed the frontier near Seo d’ Urgell and entered Andorra for a few hours. It was a private visit. Quickly he took off his uniform of student at the Spanish Military Academies and put on civilian clothing. But, after having been greeted by the authorities of garrison of Seo, the prince, before anything else, entered the church St. Etienne of Andorra la Vella to bow before the altar of the Virgin.

It was only later that he changed at the Park Hotel, to receive the respects of the honourable Syndic General Francesc Cayrat, accompanied by his advisor. Their meeting, in the presence of the military and civil chiefs of the household of Juan Carlos, did not last long. The brief ceremony, in the hall of the hotel. took place without several clients of the hotel being aware of what was happening.

Mr. Cayrat made known to the Prince that this was the first time that a member of the royal house of Spain has visited Andorra. Don Juan explained to the Syndic that the Co-Prince Bishop, Monseigneur Iglesias Navarri, whom he had gone to greet at Seo, had strong recommended that he should become acquainted with Andorra.

The grandson of Alfonso XIII stayed for barely two hours in the principality. Those who accompanied him asked that his visit to a foreign country should be kept short. Very quickly Don Juan Carlos said farewell to the Andorran authorities preceding by car towards the frontier, after having discreetly put on his uniform again.

At Seo, a detachment of the army paid him their respects, and the Price continued his study trip across Catalonia, to Gerona and then to Barcelona.

On the day after his brief visit to Andorra, Don Juan Carlos announced officially his forthcoming marriage with Princess Sophia of Greece. The Spanish press took the opportunity to recall that Franco had designated the Prince to, later, occupy the throne of Spain.