King Awards Princess Leonor Golden Fleece

King Felipe today awarded Princess Leonor, heir to the Spanish throne, the Crown’s top honor.

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The Spanish Royal Family. © Casa de S.M. el Rey

Leonor, Princess of Asturias, became a member of the Order of the Golden Fleece during a ceremony at the Royal Palace in Madrid.

At 12, the Royal Household and Spanish government have been getting the princess ready to assume official duties in the coming years.

The award coincides with King Felipe’s 50th birthday. In recent days, he released a behind-the-scenes video of his family life.

The video includes images of the Zarzuela Palace complex not before seen by the public. Critics said the Crown should be even more transparent.

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King Felipe Addresses Catalonia In Davos

King Felipe arrived at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, yesterday and already made news.

In remarks, the King promoted a global Spain committed to innovation. He also touched on the Catalan crisis.

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I don’t wish to conclude this part of my speech without addressing the recent crisis in a truly fundamental part of our country’s soul and diverse identity: Catalonia; where we have seen an attempt to undermine the basic rules of our democratic system.”

A lesson to be learned from this crisis — a lesson not only for Spain, but for democracies in general — is the need to preserve the rule of law as a cornerstone precisely of democracy, and to respect political pluralism and the basic principle of national sovereignty that -in fact- belongs to all citizens. Political disagreements and disputes must be resolved in accordance with the democratic rules and values laid down in our Constitution and legal framework.

Spain’s Constitution, as you can all well understand, is no mere ornament. It is, rather, the very expression of the will of our citizens and the key pillar of our democratic coexistence. As such, it deserves the utmost respect from each and every one of us. My country is a law-abiding State where legal certainty prevails and therefore the Constitution and the laws are effectively enforced.

-King Felipe VI

The King also met with corporate and world leaders, including Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia, and Spaniards participating at the conference.

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© Casa de S.M. el Rey

U.S. President Trump is also due in Davos this week. But King Felipe has a public event back home tomorrow. It doesn’t seem the two will meet.

Royals Honor King Juan Carlos

Members of the Spanish Royal Family honored King Felipe’s father, King Juan Carlos, last week.

The Royal Household last year kept Don Juan Carlos away from a celebration of the Spanish Constitution, which he signed.

This year there appears to be a pivot to celebrating the King who abdicated in 2014 and helped lead his country’s transition to Democracy during the 1970’s and 80’s.

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© Casa de S.M. el Rey

King Felipe praised his father during the Pascua Militar ceremony at the Royal Palace in Madrid, which coincides every year with Epiphany.

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© Casa de S.M. el Rey

Earlier, family and guests were at Zarzuela Palace for King Juan Carlos’ 80th birthday.

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© Casa de S.M. el Rey

Infanta Cristina, whose husband was convicted of financial crimes, was not in the official pictures.

King Warns Separatists, Urges Optimism

The Spanish Royal Family will retake its agenda over the weekend with the annual Pascua Militar ceremonies at the Royal Palace in Madrid.

Last month, King Felipe closed the year by taking on — once again — the separatist threat in Catalonia during his Christmas Eve address.

After elections there before Christmas, in which pro-independence parties lost the majority of votes but won the most seats, the King warned against efforts to break away.

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© Casa de S.M. el Rey

“The path cannot take us again to confrontation or exclusion that, as we know, only generate discord, uncertainty and poverty — moral, civic and of course economic — for an entire society,” said the King.

Catalan nationalists accused the King of not softening his tone from an earlier speech on the crisis and for siding with the conservative ruling party.

Mainstream commentators, however, noted that conservatives were not happy with the King’s remarks either because it appeared to accuse them of not seeking a negotiated settlement.

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The King’s speech is always rife with symbolism. Over his right shoulder is a Princess of Asturias Awards trophy. Over his left shoulder is a Princes of Girona Awards trophy. The Princess of Girona is the historical heir to the Aragonese Throne, associated with Catalonia. Don Felipe’s daughter holds the title. © Casa de S.M. el Rey

The King also encouraged Spaniards to be confident in their Democracy and — while addressing corruption and the economy — to be more proud of their achievements.

The Royal Household released the Christmas cards below last month. The King and Queen and their daughters featured a family picture.

King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia’s card featured, as is tradition, an image of Spanish art.

The Pascua Militar, which coincides with the Christian celebration of Epiphany, is one of the year’s most important military-related events.