Queen Elizabeth in Riga

It's fair to say that Latvia is used to British invasions after several years of welcoming marauding stag parties onto her shores. Thankfully for the good citizens of Riga's sanity, this most recent of invasions couldn't be better behaved - which is perhaps why she has received such a warm welcome.

Queen Elizabeth II arrived in Latvia on the 18th of October to be greeted by rows of Union Jack flags lining the roads from the airport to Riga's city centre as well as a large crowd of well-wishers. The Queen has already spoken words of admiration for Latvia and the rest of the Baltic States, during the first leg of her tour in Vilnius. She praised their fight for freedom and spoke of her admiration for how the three countries have turned their fortunes around in the fifteen or so years since achieving indepedence.

During the Queen's visit she will unveil a bronze sculpture of former mayor of Riga, George Armitsted, whose family emigrated from England to Latvia at the beginning of the 19th century, as well as give speeches with the aim of renewing the long-standing ties between Latvia and Britain.

Britain was the first country to recognise Latvia as a republic during a brief period of independence after World War I, and British soldiers fought and died alongside Latvians troops in 1919 fendig off German and Russian monarchist troops.

Meanwhile the Queen's husband, Prince Philip, will unveil a plaque at Riga's Anglican church today in memory of those very soldiers, and also meet with Latvian soldiers who have fought in more recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, alongside British counterparts.

The final leg of the Queen's Baltic tour will see her visit Tallinn, Estonia.


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