President gets royal treatment on her visit to Spain
WHEN she lived in Spain as a teenager to learn the language she could hardly have thought one day she'd be presented with the key to its capital.
But, after she visited the spectacular surroundings of the Palacio Real yesterday, President Mary McAleese received the golden key to the city of Madrid on the first day of her official visit to Spain, saying it was a "great honour".
Mrs McAleese will spend three days promoting economic, educational and cultural ties between Ireland and Spain.
She met with King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia at their residence and was the guest of honour when she dined with them in the spectacular surroundings of the Palacio Real.
She then received the Golden Key of Madrid from the mayor of the city she called "a dynamic and vibrant business centre".
In the magnificent surrounding of the Plaza de la Villa outside the town hall, Mrs McAleese was greeted by the Mayor of Madrid Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon. It was a very colourful and formal affair as she walked the four sides of the square to the tune of a full brass band accompanied by soldiers in full ceremonial dress.