King Urges Optimism In Christmas Address

King Felipe VI delivered his most important speech of the year on Christmas Eve, in which he urged Spaniards to remain optimistic about their future.

His Majesty delivered his remarks from the Zarzuela Royal Palace, flanked by books, pictures and a Christmas tree.

Spanish Royal Household

The King discussed scientific advances to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and touted the economic recovery. But he also acknowledged lingering unemployment and rising energy prices.

His Majesty called on Spaniards — and their institutions — to face and work to overcome challenges like climate change and gender inequality.

He said Spain and other nations were at a crossroads but also said current events presented a “historic opportunity” for progress.

The King expressed solidarity with the people of La Palma — part of Spain’s Canary Islands — which has been experiencing a volcano eruption.

Switzerland Closes Case Against King Juan Carlos

Swiss authorities today closed a money laundering case involving King Felipe’s father, King Juan Carlos.

Prosecutors were looking into claims Spain’s former head of state received $100 million from Saudi Arabia through a Swiss account for facilitating a high-speed rail deal.

But Swiss authorities said they were unable to prove the Saudi money was tied to the rail project. Don Juan Carlos has long been close with Saudi royals.

King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia during a ceremony at the Spanish Congress of Deputies.

The former head of state has been living in exile in the United Arab Emirates and has worked to address previously unreported earnings to Spanish tax authorities.

Don Juan Carlos abdicated in 2014 as claims against him were starting to emerge and the financial crisis made Spaniards less forgiving of their monarch.

Media outlets detailed a relationship with German businesswoman Corinna Zu Sayn-Wittgenstein, who ended up with much of the money in question. A money laundering probe against her was also dropped.

Infanta Cristina and Infanta Elena visit their father regularly, according to media outlets. It’s unclear whether Queen Sofia has seen her husband. She remains in active service of the Royal Family and popular among Spaniards.

In Images: The Sweden State Visit

King Felipe and Queen Letizia visited Sweden last week for a state visit with King Cark Gustaf and Queen Silvia.

Events included a departure ceremony outside Madrid for Spain’s royals. In Sweden, they met with Spanish diplomats, business leaders and scientists.

The king and queen also had several events with Sweden’s royals and political leaders, including leaders of parliament and the Stockholm capital.

The state visit went from Nov. 23rd through Nov. 25th.