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Archive for October, 2016

King Felipe today took Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s oath of office at Zarzuela Palace following this weekend’s vote in the Congress of Deputies.

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© Casa de S.M. el Rey

With the abstention of most Socialists, Rajoy was able to secure a vote to continue governing Spain.

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National political leaders in Spain swear an oath of loyalty to the King while touching the Bible and a copy of the Constitution.

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The economic and political crisis in Venezuela were central points of discussion during the 25th Ibero-American Summit last week.

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King Felipe arrives in Colombia for the summit. © Casa de S.M. el Rey

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro skipped the event in Cartagena, Colombia, not far from his capital of Caracas.

Envoys from the country did attend, but they focused on the theme of the conference — youth, education and entrepreneurship.

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King Felipe, honorary president of the Organization of Ibero-American States, took time to reiterate Spain’s support for Colombia’s peace accord with rebel forces.

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The King with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos. © Casa de S.M. el Rey

The King had to rush back to Madrid over the weekend to monitor political development in parliament.

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Queen Letizia has been abroad at least twice in recent weeks to promote preferred causes.

Her Majesty traveled to Paris today for the opening of the 2016 World Cancer Congress.

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© Casa de S.M. el Rey

Earlier this month, the Queen traveled to Geneva for the “Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative” meeting.

Doña Letizia atiende a las explicaciones del póster científico de Chile

© Casa de S.M. el Rey

Queen Letizia has also participated in several events closer to home focused on healthcare and education.

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King Felipe today tapped Acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to continue leading Spain’s government.

Rajoy’s Popular Party has won two elections, but not enough to form a government on its own.

In recent weeks, Socialists decided to allow Rajoy to stay in power, breaking a months-long political stalemate.

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The King with Acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. © Casa de S.M. el Rey

Yesterday and today, the King met with the leaders of numerous parties to set the stage for a vote in parliament.

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The King with Albert Rivera, leader of Cuidadanos. © Casa de S.M. el Rey

The King has summoned political leaders to Zarzuela Palace several times in recent months amid the impasse.

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King Felipe and Queen Letizia gave one of this year’s Princess of Asturias Award to the United Nations effort to combat climate change.

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

The Princess of Asturias Awards are among the highest honors given out by the Spanish Royal Family.

The King and Queen’s daughter Leonor, as heir to the throne, is Princess of Asturias, but too young to preside over the ceremony at the Campoamor Theater in the Principality of Asturias.

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Top negotiators of the recent Paris agreement on climate were on hand to accept the honor last week.

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Top climate accord negotiators Patricia Espinosa y Christiana Figueres. © Casa de S.M. el Rey

King Felipe also used the ceremonies to call for optimism and national pride amid political uncertainty and national malaise.

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King Felipe and Queen Letizia presided over the impressive Fiesta Nacional military parade in Madrid last week, and then a reception at the Royal Palace.

The events are staples in Spain, but the new King and Queen have tried to include more people in the festivities.

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Their Majesties — along with their daughters, Princess Leonor and Infanta Sofia — arrived in their ceremonial Rolls Royce surrounded by Royal Guard horses.

While the crowd was hoping to catch a glimpse or the royals, troops and fighter jets, and avoid the rain, political figures were looking for clues.

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Parties have been unable to form a government after two elections, but Socialists may abstain in the coming weeks and allow the conservative Popular Party to keep governing.

Media outlets and lawmakers were studying interactions between different leaders to see how things may develop.

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© Casa de S.M. el Rey

Pablo Iglesias, the leader of left-wing insurgent party Podemos, did not attend the festivities. He has in the past expressed opposition to the monarchy.

Also not there were the regional presidents of the Basque Country, Navarra and Catalonia, all of which want to distance themselves from the Royal Family for political reasons.

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There is no simple story about the Spanish Royal Jewels. And the misinformation online abounds.

Some jewels are said to have been destroyed in a fire. Others are said to have been stolen or gone missing during Napoleon’s invasion. Rumors indicate some others remain hidden at the Royal Palace in Madrid.

We are going to stick with facts, and update this post as new credible information arises.

For starters, Spain does not have a Royal Crown, at least not in the physical sense. The crown is a heraldic symbol.

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Spanish Royal Crown on the Spanish Coat of Arms.

However, in recent centuries, the Royal Family has displayed a crown made during the 1700’s during extremely important events, including funerals and proclamations.

King Felipe displayed it during his own investiture ceremonies in 2014 at the Congress of the Deputies. It is not meant to be worn.

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The public only got to see the crown on extremely rare occasions. But under the new King, Patrimonio Nacional — which holds royal collections and runs royal palaces — has put it on display.

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In a glass display box next to the very large crown is Royal Scepter. It has been around since at least the 1700’s but it’s exact provenance is not known.

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Queen Isabella used many of her jewels to impress foreign ambassadors during the late 1400’s. She also used them to help finance the Reconquista wars.

Isabella’s crown and scepter are on display near her resting place at a church in Granada, a prized city in her quest to take back control of the Iberian Peninsula from Muslim rulers.

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During the 1800’s, Queen Isabella II gave her crown of topaz and diamonds to the Virgin of Atocha in Madrid. It is now part of the Royal Collections.

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Generally, the jewels that members of the Spanish Royal Family wear today are considered privately owned. Queen Letizia and Queen Sofia hold several tiaras.

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Queen Sofia wearing different tiaras.

One of the tiaras belonged to Queen Maria Christina of Austria. Another was a gift from German Emperor Wilhelm II to Princess Victoria Louise of Prussia, Queen Sofia’s grandmother.

Another was a gift from Generalissimo Francisco Franco to Queen Sofia on the occasion of her marriage to King Juan Carlos.

Last year, Queen Letizia debuted a new tiara by Spanish jeweler Ansorena made of diamonds and pearls, and includes a Fleur-de-lis, a symbol of the House of Bourbon.  It is said to be a gift from the King.

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© Agencia EFE

The story of the Peregrine pearl is an example of the complicated nature of Spanish royal jewels. It ended up in the hands of Elizabeth Taylor.

But Queen Sofia has been seen wearing a similar large pearl, and some royal watchers say the Peregrine remains in the family’s hands.

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