Prince Felipe of Asturias and Girona was in Catalonia today, including Girona, inaugurating the new high speed train connection with France.
The event was much anticipated because it was a chance for the Prince and Spanish Government President Mariano Rajoy to meet with Catalonian president Artur Mas, who has been on an increasingly deepening quest for independence.
Central government representatives used the event to highlight the importance of Catalonia within Spain, and show the train as an investment in the region.
But local officials said it was too little, too late.
King Juan Carlos met with Catalonian President Artur Mas during the Monarch’s trip to Barcelona today.
It was a much anticipated — and in some quarters dreaded — meeting between both men. It comes amid Mas calling for early elections in the Autonomous Community of Catalonia and fanning pro-independence flames.
The King traveled to the Catalonian capital to hand out the Count of Barcelona award to Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone. Count of Barcelona is one of King Juan Carlos’ titles.
His Majesty, who had already released an open letter calling for unity among all Spaniards, expressed optimism about the country’s economic future.
He called the economic and political situation “grave” but said Catalonians and all Spaniards “are capable of overcoming these circumstances.” He also spoke in catalán for good measure.
Earlier this week the King was in New York attending the annual meeting of former U.S. President Bill Clinton’s Global Initiative, where he met with other heads of state and world leaders.
Meanwhile, members of the Royal Family have resumed a busy agenda. Today, for example, Queen Sofia attended a gathering of backers of the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid.