Saturday, March 27, marks exactly 25 years since the visit of the British monarch to the Czech Republic.
Elizabeth II, accompanied by her husband Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, came at the invitation of the late president Václav Havel.
Elizabeth II was the first monarch to visit the Czech Republic but not the first member of the British royal family. In 1991, Prince Charles and his wife Princess Diana had accepted President Havel’s invitation.
The visit by the British Queen was one of the most important state events in the country’s modern history, it took place under strict safety measures and was prepared for months in advance.
Havel accompanied the Queen on Charles Bridge where she met local residents, and on her visit to the Moravian city of Brno.
Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II reaffirmed her government’s support for the enlargement of the European Union and NATO to a second Central European aspirant Wednesday, during a dinner hosted by Czech President Vaclav Havel.
‘We strongly support the enlargement of the European Union and NATO. We welcome your aspirations to join these institutions,’ she said in a toast on the evening of the first day of her visit.
She had delivered the same message the previous day in Poland, emphasizing that such aspirations ‘cannot be subject to a veto by any other country.’ The queen’s address was full of historical allusions to bilateral relations, including relationships between her ancestors and those of monarchs in the ancient Czech lands.
She also frankly referred to the nadir in relations in 1938, when the British and French governments agreed to Adolf Hitler’s demands in Munich for the dismemberment of Czechoslovakia, despite treaties of mutual aid.
Havel’s speech was also interspersed with history and emphasized the historical context of the queen’s visit. ‘The British crown shall never cease to be a symbol of a glorious and steadfast tradition which has maintained its irreplaceable significance even in hurried and tumultuous times,’ he said.
In 1998, Havel was welcomed in the Buckingham Palace with all honors.