King Felipe visited Iraq last week to coincide with his 51st birthday.
The King met with Iraqi president Barham Salih and Spanish forces serving in the country.
King Felipe’s visit was the first by a Spanish monarch to Iraq in four decades, media outlets said.
A foundation tied to the Valencian government last week gave King Felipe its coexistence award.
His Majesty received the Professor Manuel Broseta Fundation for the Crown’s role in Spanish unity.
Catalan separatists have targeted the King for his remarks in favor of Spanish unity and the Constitution. The award can be interpreted to be in support of the monarch’s actions.
King Felipe took advantage of two major events in recent days to call for Spanish unity and stress the judiciary’s independence.
In remarks at the Pascua Militar, a high military event on Epiphany, the King spoke about the Spanish flag as a symbol of unity.
The Pascua Militar at the Royal Palace, with remarks at the Throne Room, is perhaps the highest military event of the year.
Spain’s flag has gone through numerous iterations, and something like the latest version did not become common until the mid 1800’s.
Later this week, His Majesty spoke about the importance of judicial rulings during a ceremony in Madrid.
The King’s remarks while handing out judicial dispatches were significant because of the upcoming trials of Catalan pro-independence leaders.
King Felipe’s Christmas Eve message this year was short and focused on one particular audience — the youth.
The King reminded viewers and listeners about Spain’s transition to democracy and the Crown’s commitment to coexistence.
The message, like years prior, comes amid ongoing separatist sentiment among some Catalans, particularly young people.
“Coexistence, which is always fragile, is the most valuable work of our democracy and the best legacy we can give younger generations; we must defend it, care for it and protect it,” said Don Felipe.
The King, whose words were broadcast on television and social media, ended his remarks by wishing people a merry Christmas in Spain’s different languages.
He said, “We should value with price and without complex what we are, what we have done and be confident in what we can all do together, getting away from disenchantment and pessimism.”
Catalan separatists responded to the remarks by questioning Spain’s commitment to democracy and liberty.
Members of the Spanish Royal Family released their Christmas cards ahead of today’s celebrations.
The card from King Felipe, Queen Letizia, Princess Leonor and Infanta Sofia includes an image of the family in Asturias.
The official visit, earlier this year, was seen as a debut for Leonor, the Princess of Asturias and heir to the Spanish throne.
King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia released a card with a picture of themselves.
Usually, the elder King and Queen release a cared with a Christmas-related image from an important work of art.
The Spanish Royal family yesterday celebrated the Constitution’s 40th anniversary yesterday with ceremonies at the Congress of the Deputies palace in Madrid.
King Felipe delivered remarks to lawmakers, in which he praised the document as securing unity and Democracy.
The King, because of his father’s role in crafting the Constitution following the death of dictator Francisco Franco, said the Crown was tied to Spain’s democratic growth.
Catalan separatists boycotted the events and leftist political party Podemos was upset at the ovation to the royals. The party is betting Spain’s and its own fortunes on republicanism.
King Felipe and Queen Letizia attended a concern on the eve of yesterday’s ceremonies. Media outlets commented on her dress being a risky decision.
Beyond this week’s commemorations, royals have attended numerous events and exhibitions to mark the constitutional milestone.
King Felipe was in Mexico over the weekend to attend investiture ceremonies for new Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
The king met with outgoing Mexican leader Enrique Peña Nieto and with López Obrador. He sat near the U.S. delegation, which included presidential aide Ivanka Trump.
King Felipe returned to Madrid this week to participate in ceremonies commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Spanish Constitution.