IN PICTURES: King Felipe and Queen Letizia visit Andalucia to mark Napoleonic Wars battle anniversary

SPAIN’S king and queen have visited a town in Andalucia to mark 210 years since the first Spanish victory against Napoleon’s forces during the Peninsula Wars.

King Felipe and Queen Letizia were greeted by hundreds of onlookers when they arrived in Bailen, in Jaen Province, shortly after 11am on Thursday. They were accompanied by Reyes Maroto, Spain’s Business and Tourism Minister.

Officials including President of the Junta de Andalucia Susana Diaz, government’s delegate in the region Alfonso Rodrigo Gomez de Celis and Mayor of Bailen Luis Mariano Camacho also attended.

The royals unveiled a plaque commemorating their visit to the city and their receiving the keys to the town and a ‘baton of control’.

They then appeared on the balcony of the Town Hall to shouts of: “Felipe, Felipe” from the crowd below.

The king and queen visited the Church of La Encarnacion after greeting people lining the streets. King Felipe laid a wreath at the tomb of General Francisco Castaños, the commander of Spain’s armed forces during the battle.

The visit finished at the town’s Battle Museum where the royals were met by re-enactors dressed in period Spanish uniforms.>

The king and queen’s trip marks the second time in modern history a Spanish monarch has visited the town. The first was Queen Isabel II in 1862.

The Battle of Bailen was fought in 1808 between the forces of General Castaños and Imperial French troops commanded by General Pierre Dupont de l’Etang. It broke out following Napoleon’s attempts to put down widespread uprisings in the south of Spain.

Castaños’ forces were victorious and Dupont was forced to surrender almost 18,000 of his troops.

It marked the first defeat for the French during the Peninsula War (or War of Independence to the Spanish).

It was also the first time Napoleon’s forces were beaten in an open field battle and it caused Napoleon to take personal command of France’s forces in Spain.

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