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The Prince of Wales met with Queen Letizia as the pair visited County Durham on Monday.
Prince Charles greeted the Spanish royal in the town of Bishop Auckland, kissing the Queen Consort on both cheeks and her hand.
He welcomed her to 900-year-old Auckland Castle, one of Europe’s best-preserved bishops’ palaces on a joint visit to see Spanish art treasures.
In the town, Charles, 73, and Letizia, 49, officially opened a new art gallery dedicated to Spanish art and culture, the only one in the UK, after the Spanish queen arrived in an Audi A6 with the registration plate SPA IN.
The Spanish Gallery forms part of the Auckland Project, a remarkable regeneration programme bringing tourism to Bishop Auckland using art, faith, and heritage. It comprises a collection of galleries, gardens, parks and the spectacular Kynren historical re-enactment shows, which are staged during the summer.
The project was founded by philanthropist Jonathan Ruffer and his wife Jane but Mr Ruffer missed out on showing the two royals around because he was isolating, watching from an upstairs window from his home at the castle gates.
Once home to the powerful Prince Bishops of Durham, Auckland Castle reopened on March 23 after undergoing major conservation work, which has transformed its state rooms back to their original Georgian Gothic splendour.
The castle is home to 13 life-sized figures painted by Francisco de Zurbaran which were originally brought by Bishop Trevor in 1756 and have hung in the Long Dining Room ever since.
Mr Ruffer saved the Zurburans from sale after making a £15m donation to the Church of England which kick-started the regeneration project. He also financed the new Spanish Gallery in the town centre, where Charles and Letizia viewed paintings including The Holy Family by El Greco and Cherubs Scattering Flowers by Bartolome Esteban Murillo.
School children waited outside the gallery waving British and Spanish flags and cheered as the royal party came out.
Auckland Project volunteer Ann Turnbull, from Crook, County Durham, shook Letizia’s hand.
She said: “I thought she was wonderful, very classy, beautiful.
“I said ‘welcome to Bishop Auckland’ and she said the gallery was wonderful.”
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