King Felipe called for dialogue and unity during his much anticipated Christmas Eve speech.
The message came in the wake of national elections, where no party won enough votes to form a government.
Talks are ongoing over potential coalitions. The outcome could be pivotal because of Spain’s ongoing economic, social and political challenges.
“Today’s Spain is very different to the Spain of earlier centuries, thanks to the real and generous willingness to compromise of all its people, their sincere spirit of reconciliation and overcoming our historic differences, and the commitment of the political and social forces to serving all the people and the general interests of the nation, which must always be paramount,” said the King.
The King’s speech was the first ever at the Royal Palace in Madrid, the Crown’s official seat.
Don Felipe said he wanted to express Spain’s greatness with dignity and solemnity.
He also wanted to use the historic structure to highlight the country’s history and call for unity amid a secession movement in Catalonia.
“I sincerely believe that we are living in times when more than ever, we need to recognize in ourselves everything which unites us,” the King said. “We need to see the worth in what we have built together over the years with many great sacrifices, generosity and enormous dedication.”
While promoting unity, the King also highlighted Spain’s diversity.
Commentators praised the King for presenting a prudent and neutral message amid political uncertainty.
Yet, critics in some autonomous regions said His Majesty did not go far enough in recognizing cultural and linguistic differences within the Kingdom.