BELGRADE, Oct. 21 (Xinhua) -- Queen Elizabeth II of Britain and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, paid their first state visit to Slovenia on Tuesday at the invitation of Slovenian President Danilo Tuerk.
The 82-year-old monarch and the Duke were welcomed at the Joze Pucnik airport in the Slovenian capital Ljubljana by British ambassador Tim Simmons and several Slovenian officials, Slovenian news agency STA reported.
The royal couple then traveled in a motorcade to the nearby Brdo Castle, to be met by President Tuerk and First Lady Barbara Miklic Tuerk with full state honors.
After the talks, the Queen and her host exchanged state honors and gifts. President Tuerk decorated the Queen with the Order for Exceptional Services of the Republic of Slovenia, while he received the Most Honorable Order of the Bath.
The Queen's first visit to Slovenia is being met with great fanfare in Slovenia, as it is seen as an opportunity to further enhance the good relations between the two nations.
Slovenia has amended its protocol in anticipation of the royal visit, making this its first state visit to date. Previously, the highest level of visit was an official one.
The highlight of the visit will be a state banquet to be hosted by the Slovenian president and first lady at Brdo Castle Tuesday evening. Both heads of state will address the gathering. A number of guests from the world of politics, economy and culture have been invited to the event.
Prior to the banquet, the Queen will hold a brief meeting with Slovenia's National Assembly Speaker Pavel Gantar and outgoing Prime Minister Janez Jansa.
Security will be stepped up in Slovenia until Thursday, when the Queen completes her visit and heads for Slovakia.