Prague, June 12 (CTK) – President Milos Zeman and his wife Ivana are to have an audience with British Queen Elizabeth II on Friday, during his one-day visit to the United Kingdom, Zeman’s spokesman Jiri Ovcacek confirmed to CTK on Monday.

He said Zeman would decorate five war veterans within the visit.

According to CTK’s information, the presidential couple is likely to meet the Queen on Friday afternoon. Zeman’s office asked for the audience.

Audiences with Elizabeth II are usually considered a private meeting between the Queen and the guest and other members of the royal family do not take part in them, the Buckingham Palace writes on its website.

Zeman sent condolences to the Queen after the recent terrorist attacks in London and Manchester.

In 2014, Elizabeth II and President Zeman both attended the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of D-Day Allied invasion in Normandy.

CTK’s source said Zeman considers it important that the Czech Republic and the United Kingdom maintain excellent relations.

One year ago, the British decided in a referendum that their country would leave the European Union. The Czech Republic joined the bloc in 2004.

Ovcacek said Zeman will take part in a ceremony at the London memorial to the Battle of Britain, in which the RAF defended the country against German air attacks in 1940.

Apart from decorating the five war veterans with medals for heroism, Zeman is to hand the diploma promoting Czechoslovak pilot Miroslav Antonin Liskutin to the rank of general. Liskutin, who has been living in England, fought with the RAF during World War Two. He was promoted to general on May 8, 2017, however, he could not attend the ceremony at Prague Castle.

Zeman’s predecessors, Czech presidents Vaclav Havel and Vaclav Klaus, met Queen Elizabeth II, the longest serving British monarch, several times. Havel met her for the first time in 1990. In 1996, Elizabeth II paid a visit to the Czech Republic. In 1998, Havel was welcomed in the Buckingham Palace with all honours. Klaus and his wife had an audience with the Queen in 2007.

The audience of Zeman and his wife with Queen Elizabeth II is a signal of good relations between the Czech Republic and Britain, however, this is not an official state visit, former Czech ambassador to Britain Michael Zantovsky told CTK on Monday.

Out of Czech presidents, only Havel was received in London with all military honours, said Zantovsky, Havel’s former spokesman and current director of the Vaclav Havel Library.

“This is certainly a positive signal. It is in both countries’ interest to keep the best possible relations and every similar reception is a sign indicating that their relations are not bad,” Zantovsky said.