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Spanish king and queen postpone state visit to Britain

Spain's King Felipe (L) and Queen Letizia arrive for a sports award ceremony at El Pardo palace, outside Madrid, Spain, November 17, 2015. REUTERS/Andrea Comas

MADRID (Reuters) - Spain’s King Felipe and Queen Letizia on Thursday postponed a March state visit to Britain because of the longer-than-expected process to form a Spanish government following an inconclusive general election in December.

The Spanish royal household announced on December 3 the king and queen would pay a three-day state visit to Britain from March 8 to March 10, invited by Queen Elizabeth.

However, the king has been playing a central role in political parties’ negotiations to form a government six weeks after an indecisive general election and it looks like this process could continue for at least another month.

King Felipe on Tuesday asked Socialist head Pedro Sanchez to lead talks to form a potential coalition government with other political parties after acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy deferred a parliamentary confidence vote because he lacked the support to win it.

Reporting By Sonya Dowsett; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky