Spain's Queen Sofia snubs UK's Queen Elizabeth amid Gibraltar feud


Queen Sofia of Spain attends the Oath of Allegiance of the Royal Guards at El Pardo Palace on May 4, 2012 in Madrid, Spain.


Carlos Alvarez

Queen Sofia of Spain has pulled out of lunch to celebrate the diamond jubilee of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II amid an escalating feud over the disputed territory of Gibraltar, London's The Daily Telegraph reported.

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Although she had accepted an invitation to Friday's event at Windsor Castle, the Spanish government later released a statement saying it was “inappropriate” for Queen Sofia to attend given the “current circumstances."

The snub, which came less than 48 hours before the lunch, comes amid a dispute between the UK and Spain over fishing rights off Gibraltar, the BBC reported.

It also comes after the Spanish foreign ministry complained about an upcoming visit to Gibraltar in June by Queen Elizabeth's son Prince Edward and his wife Sophie, the Earl and Countess of Wessex – also part of the jubilee celebrations.

It is understood that Queen Sofia's husband King Juan Carlos, who is recovering after breaking his hip while on a hunting trip, had already declined the invitation to the UK lunch.

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Spain has long laid a claim to sovereignty over Gibraltar, a small peninsula at Spain's south-western corner, which has been under UK rule since 1713.