Queen Letizia Gets Warm Embrace

Queen Letizia received a surprise embrace during an audience at Zarzuela Palace earlier this month.

A man in a wheelchair greeted her with a hug that threw her a bit off balance, but she returned his embrace.

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Spanish Royal Household

Royal protocol generally frowns upon embracing a monarch, but Spaniards tend to be less strict about such customs, especially with members of the general public.

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Princess Leonor To Visit Catalonia

Princes Leonor will visit Catalonia later this year, her first official visit to the region as heir to the Crown.

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Princess Leonor with King Felipe. Spanish Royal Household

Her Royal Highness, media outlets reported, will be present for the Princess of Girona Awards ceremony.

As heir to the Spanish throne, she is Princess of Asturias but also of Girona, a city north of Barcelona.

King Tasks Socialist Leader With Forming Government

King Felipe earlier this month takes Socialist Party leader Pedro Sánchez with organizing a government following the country’s most recent general elections.

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Spanish Royal Household

Sánchez got the most votes, so it’s no surprised the King picked him to try to cobble together enough supporters.

Still, His Majesty met with numerous party leaders in his office at Zarzuela Palace before making his decision.

The King met with Laura Borrás Castanyer, who represents one of Catalonia’s main pro-independence parties. She declared her region had no King.

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Borrás told the King that former Catalan President Carles Puidgemont, who is a runaway from Spanish justice, preferred him as Crown Prince. The King then said he preferred Puidgemont in his former job as mayor of Girona.

A Packaged Agenda As Parliament Gets Underway

King Felipe and Queen Letizia have been leading numerous events in recent weeks as Spanish politicians work to form a new government.

Today the King met again with Meritxell Batet, the new president of the Congress of Deputies, at Zarzuela Palace.

His Majesty will have several such meetings in the coming days with different party leaders.

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Spanish Royal Household

Over the weekend, King Felipe and Queen Letizia were in Seville for a series of ceremonies for Armed Forces Day.

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Spanish Royal Household

Late last month the King was in Germany for the Charlemagne Prize ceremony. The winner was António Guterres, United Nations secretary general.

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Spanish Royal Household

On May 29, Queen Letizia was in Palma de Mallorca for a summit on school safety.

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Spanish Royal Household

The Queen last month was also in Geneva for World Health Organization meetings.

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Spanish Royal Household

The King presided over the King’s Cup football championship final in Seville on May 25th. The Queen leads a similar contest for women’s sports.

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Spanish Royal Household

King Juan Carlos Announces Retirement

King Juan Carlos, who abdicated the Spanish throne five years ago, has decided to retire from public life.

The move, detailed in a letter to King Felipe, means Don Juan Carlos will no longer represent the Crown in an official capacity.

Even though the King Emeritus doesn’t have a heavy schedule, he has made numerous appearances in a private and official capacity over the years.

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King Juan Carlos speaking with King Felipe during a recent meeting of the Cotec Foundation leadership at El Pardo Palace. Spanish Royal Household

In the letter to King Felipe, Don Juan Carlos says it’s time to move on to a new chapter of his life.

King Juan Carlos, who reigned from 1975-2014 and led Spain’s transition to Democracy, said he had been thinking about retirement for months, particularly following his 80th birthday and the Constitution’s 40th anniversary.

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Members of the Spanish Royal Family at the Palace of the Congress in Madrid last year. Spanish Royal Household

The Spanish Royal Household released the news amid local and European elections, so coverage was relatively sedate.

King Juan Carlos was once an untouchable figure in Spain. His reputation has taken a hit following several scandals and controversies.

King Felipe and Queen Letizia now want to promote the Crown as professional, affordable and accountable.

Queen Sofia, King Juan Carlos’ wife, who has a foundation to her name and numerous projects, will stay active in public life.

King Meets New Parliamentary Leaders

King Felipe today met the new leaders of the Spanish Congress of Deputies and Senate today, a key step in kicking off a new session of parliament following recent elections.

His Majesty first met with Congress President Meritxell Batet, who was 7 minutes late, newspaper ABC reported.

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Spanish Royal Household

The King then met with the new president of the Senate, Manuel Cruz.

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Spanish Royal Household

The King will soon have meetings with the leaders of different parties on the road to picking a prime minister. Socialist Pedro Sánchez will likely remain in the role.