Queen Elizabeth plans visit to the Baltics

  • 2006-01-11
  • From wire reports
RIGA/VILNIUS - Riga could be graced twice by royalty this year, as both the queen of the Netherlands and Great Britain might visit the Latvian capital, the daily Diena reported on Jan. 3. Citing unofficial diplomatic sources, the newspaper said the British monarch's visit could take place in the second half of 2006, and that dates were currently being finalized.

A week later, the daily newspaper Lietuvos Rytas reported that Quenn Elizabeth II was expected to visit Lithuania in October.

According to the report, the President's Office has already received confirmation of the Oct. 17-18 royal visit. The president's foreign policy adviser, Edminas Bagdonas, also verified the information.

But Bagdonas did not reveal details of the upcoming visit, which has yet to be finalized with British authorities.

Monarchs often take tours of all three Baltic states, however Bagdonas said he still did not know what the case would be with Queen Elizabeth.

Queen Elizabeth II's visit would be a special gesture from Great Britain, since Prince Charles has been in Riga twice already.

Under protocol, monarchs are not invited to pay visits, but rather plan their own routes and inform receiving countries about scheduled trips.

According to reports, international relations specialists have been cautious with possibilities surrounding the queen's royal visit to Lithuania. More information could arise just before the visit, causing powerful leaders to cancel scheduled trips in the last minute.

Princes Charles and Andrew of the royal family have already visited Lithuania.

Another foreign monarch is expected to come to Lithuania this year - King of Belgium Albert II with his wife Paola should be in Lithuania on March 20-22.

Before Queen Elizabeth II visits Riga, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands is expected to spend three days in the city, Diena reported.

The Dutch Royal Orchestra, led by Mariss Jansons, a conductor of Latvian descent, is scheduled to perform at the Latvian National Opera during Queen Beatrix's May visit.

The Russian Orthodox patriarch is scheduled to arrive on May 27.