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King Felipe, along with other Spanish leaders, is lobbying for Barcelona to become home to the European Union’s prescription drug office, media outlets are reporting.

European leaders are skeptical of Barcelona’s candidacy amid the separatist crisis in Catalonia.

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King Felipe during a gathering of the American Chamber of Commerce in Spain at the Royal Theater. © Casa de S.M. el Rey

It’s unlikely that the King’s efforts for Barcelona and the wider Catalan region will sway republicans and separatists who resent his vocal defense of constitutional order.

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King Felipe today received Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for an official visit.

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Don Felipe welcoming President Abbas. © Casa de S.M. el Rey

The King met with Abbas at Zarzuela Palace and then hosted a lunch for the Palestinian delegation at the Royal Palace in downtown Madrid.

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King Felipe, President Abbas and other officials pose for pictures at Zarzuela Palace. © Casa de S.M. el Rey

Israel has not taken too kindly with European efforts to recognize Palestinian statehood. But the King recently welcomed Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and with significantly more pomp.

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Spanish and Palestinian delegations at the Madrid Royal Palace Hall of Columns. © Casa de S.M. el Rey

While the King greeted Abbas at Zarzuela and then hosted a lunch at the Madrid Royal Palace’s Hall of Columns, Rivlin got a larger welcoming and a grander gathering in the formal dining room.

Queen Letizia is on a brief work trip to Mexico this week without King Felipe.

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© Casa de S.M. el Rey

Her Majesty visited the Mexican Red Cross headquarters in Mexico City yesterday and heard about recovery efforts following the recent earthquake there.

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© Casa de S.M. el Rey

Today the Queen was set to attend a meeting of the Union for International Cancer Control.

King Felipe and Queen Letizia welcomed Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and his wife for a state visit this week.

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Welcoming ceremonies at the Royal Palace in Madrid. © Casa de S.M. el Rey

The associated ceremonies were filled with particular pomp and came amid ongoing tensions in the Spanish Autonomous Community of Catalonia.

The visit showed the King wanting to strengthen ties with the State of Israel and highlighting Spain’s efforts to atone for expelling Jews in 1492.

The ceremonies also showed the King wanting to continue returning to a normal agenda.

President Rivlin highlighted Spain’s strength and unity during remarks, a nod to the tensions.

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Queen Letizia, President Rivlin, King Felipe and Mrs. Rivlin at the Royal Palace during a State Dinner. © Casa de S.M. el Rey

Polls show King Felipe with ratings above 70 percent, but Catalan nationalists are upset he took a hard line against the separatists.

Media outlets reported that some recipients of an award backed by the Crown declined the honor.

 

Queen Letizia today called for progress toward a better, fairer Spain during remarks in Valencia.

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© Casa de S.M. el Rey

The Queen represented the Crown during the Rey Jaime I award in the community of Lonja de los Mercaderes.

Her husband, King Felipe, is said to have cleared his schedule once again to attend to the crisis in Catalonia.

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© Casa de S.M. el Rey

The Queen praised the award recipients and said that with learning and innovation “we will continue growing as a country toward a better and more just Spain.”

 

King Felipe once again criticized ongoing secessionist tensions in the autonomous region of Catalonia.

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King Felipe with Queen Sofia and Queen Letizia. © Casa de S.M. el Rey

Last night the King, speaking during the Princess of Asturias awards ceremony in the Spanish Principality of Asturias, said his nation would respond to the pro-independence threat within the constitution.

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King Felipe during his remarks. © Casa de S.M. el Rey

Kind Felipe gave one of the awards to European Union leaders and said Spaniards were proud of their commitment to Europe and Democracy.

His Majesty said Catalonia would continue being an essential part of Spain into the 21st Century.

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King Felipe and Queen Letizia among other dignitaries. © Casa de S.M. el Rey

This morning the Spanish government took steps to take over parts of Catalan autonomy and call new elections within six months.

The Catalan leadership recently held an illegal pro-independence referendum and came close to seceding.

The vast majority of people who voted agreed with independence, but fewer than half of eligible voters went to the polls.

The Princess of Asturias is the King and Queen’s daughter, and heir to the Spanish throne. She was not at the ceremonies, which typically stretch over three days.

The Queen is due in Geneva in the coming days for a meeting at the World Health Organization.

King Felipe and Queen Letizia have retaken their agenda amid the ongoing separatist crisis in Catalonia.

The King and Queen dramatically scaled back their events in recent weeks to deal with pressing issues.

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© Casa de S.M. el Rey

This week, however, Their Majesties held several audiences at Zarzuela Palace.

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© Casa de S.M. el Rey

The King and Queen are set to preside over the Princess of Asturias Awards and related ceremonies starting this evening.