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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Queen Elizabeth's Visit Scheduled for October

LONDON -- Britain's Queen Elizabeth II will travel to Russia in October, the first visit to the country by a reigning British monarch, Buckingham Palace said Friday.

A palace spokeswoman said the dates for the scheduled trip by the queen and her husband the Duke of Edinburgh have been set as Oct. 17 to 20. Details have not been finalized. An outline program is expected in about a week's time after a preparatory visit to Russia by royal aides.

Prince Charles made a highly publicized four-day trip to the country's second city of St. Petersburg in May.

That was seen as paving the way for the queen's visit to Russia, whose last monarch Tsar Nicholas II, a relation of the British royal family, was executed with his family in 1918, a year after the Bolshevik revolution brought the Communists to power.

Buckingham Palace said no reigning British monarch had ever visited Russia, although King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra dined with Tsar Nicholas II on the imperial yacht in June 1908 in then Russian waters off Tallinn, now the capital of Estonia.

The visit is being described as the most important royal visit since the queen traveled to China in 1986.

President Mikhail Gorbachev, leader of what was then the Soviet Union, invited the queen to visit in 1989 when he met her in London.

She was asked again in 1992 by President Boris Yeltsin when he was invited for lunch at Buckingham Palace.

The royal family, dogged by image problems since the rift in 1992 between Charles and Diana, has used several lengthy foreign visits to stress the monarchy's serious diplomatic role.