British queen, duke to visit Latvia Oct. 18-19

Perhaps they will be able to chat in French when Queen Elizabeth II pays a two-day visit to Latvia Oct. 18-19 at the invitation of President Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga.

The British monarch speaks French fluently, according to her media center, as does the Latvian president, who used to teach at the Université de Montréal in Canada.

The 80-year-old queen and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, will pay their first-ever visit to the Baltic states from Oct. 17-20. They will first visit Lithuania, then Latvia and finally Estonia.

In Latvia on Oct. 18, the queen and duke will be welcomed at Rīga Castle, where the president is based, and then attend a state lunch in the queen’s honor at the House of the Blackheads.

In the afternoon, the queen and the duke will lay a wreath at the Freedom Monument and will unveil a statue of the English mayor of Rīga in the garden by the Latvian National Opera. George Armistead (1847-1912), who was of British heritage, was mayor of Rīga from 1901-1912. During his administration, city services flourished.

Following the unveiling, the queen and duke, along with the president and her husband Imants Freibergs, will attend the concert “Kopā” in Arēna Rīga and meet performers. The duke then will visit St. Saviour’s Anglican church, where he is to meet Latvian veterans who served in Afghanistan and Iraq.

That evening, Queen Elizabeth and the duke are to attend a reception for the British and Latvian community in the Small Guild (Mazā ģilde).

On Oct. 19, the queen is to visit Museum of the Occupation of Latvia and then to walk about the Old Town with Vīķe-Freiberga.

The queen and the duke then head to Tallinn, Estonia.

Prince Charles visited Latvia in 2001.

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

2 thoughts on “British queen, duke to visit Latvia Oct. 18-19

  1. Perhaps the Queen and President Vike-Freiberga will feel the need to practice their skills in French, however, it is well known that both heads of state speak excellent English. Communication will not be a problem!

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