Amid pro-independence rumblings in the Spanish Autonomous Community of Catalonia, Prince Felipe of Asturias over the weekend presided over a dinner with business and regional leaders at Albéniz Palace in Barcelona, the King’s official residence in the city.
Prince Felipe, who was in town for the eve of the 2014 Mobile World Congress, alluded to Catalonia’s importance within Spain.
He spoke of Barcelona as the “beloved and dynamic capital of Catalonia,” and made remarks in Spanish, English and Catalan.
His Royal Highness also met with Catalan President Artur Mas, who is calling for a referendum on independence and, during his own remarks, highlighted Catalonia’s own strengths.
On Monday Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia walked the convention floor. One of their meetings was with Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg.
Things got tougher later in the week when a Catalan businessman refused to shake the Prince’s hand.
Don Felipe pressed the issue with Alex Fenoll, who kept refusing. A video of the incident has gone viral.
Media reports also indicate that other business leaders in Catalonia expressed concerns about the lack of dialogue between Barcelona and Madrid during what has become a political stalemate.
Other Agenda Items
Among numerous royal agenda items in recent weeks, today Queen Sofia visited the Spanish National Ballet and the National Dance Company. Her Majesty is known for her attachment to classical arts.
Earlier this month King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia were in Portugal meeting with Portuguese and Italian leaders in Lisbon to promote regional economic development.