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Posts Tagged ‘Catalonia’

Members of the Spanish Royal Family presided over National Day festivities in Madrid this week amid the ongoing constitutional crisis.

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© Casa de S.M. el Rey

With the Catalan government threatening independence, attendance was up at the Fiesta Nacional military parade.

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© Casa de S.M. el Rey

The Ministry of Defense and other government organizers moved the event north to accommodate more spectators.

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© Casa de S.M. el Rey

The King held a brief reception at the Royal Palace after the parade. He has otherwise cleared his agenda to deal with the crisis.

The day was not a total success. One of the fighter jets that participated in the pageantry crashed and the pilot died.

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King Felipe this evening delivered a rare and fiery speech against the Catalan government’s move toward independence from Spain.

The King, who spoke from Zarzuela Palace, called this week’s illegal pro-independence referendum and other developments a threat to “national sovereignty.”

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© Casa de S.M. el Rey

Catalan leaders have been pushing for a legal referendum for years, something the central government has rejected, fearing many people will use the occasion to cast a protest vote over economic and other grievances.

The Catalan leadership is now threatening to declare independence even though polls show most Catalans don’t support the move.

Don Felipe is calling their actions “unacceptable disloyalty,” and against Democracy and the rule of law, reiterating constitutional protections and Catalonia’s Statute of Autonomy.

The King’s speech is almost unprecedented. His father, King Juan Carlos, delivered major messages during his abdication and during an attempted coup in the early 1980’s.

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King Juan Carlos in 1981.

Left wing and pro-independence parties slammed the speech for not focusing enough on dialogue. The King, however, has pressed for dialogue numerous times before.

“These moments are hard but we will overcome,” said the King, stressing Catalonia would continue being Spanish.

He said the Crown would continue standing by Democracy and the Constitution, and the “unity and permanence of Spain.”

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King Felipe once again used his bully pulpit to address the crisis in Catalonia, where pro-independence parties are looking to force a referendum on independence.

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King Felipe and Queen Letizia greet residents of Cuenca. © Casa de S.M. el Rey

The King, during remarks in recent days at an awards ceremony related to culture, spoke about Spain’s “constitutional democracy” and national “coexistence.”

Don Felipe said the Spanish Constitution would prevail as the guarantor of liberty and progress, and against those who seek to break it.

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The King during remarks at the Cuenca Cathedral. © Casa de S.M. el Rey

The King often addresses the Catalan question in indirect terms, trying to stay above politics.

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King Felipe today sought to revive the spirit of the 1992 Barcelona Olympics as a way to combat political instability in Catalonia.

His Majesty participated in ceremonies in the Catalan capital to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the historic games.

There he met with Catalan President Carles Puigdemont, who is calling for a referendum on independence from Spain.

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© Casa de S.M. el Rey

Don Felipe, who carried the Spanish flag during the opening ceremonies in 1992, said participants “represented all we are and all that we can achieve together.”

The King also met with Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau, known for her left leaning views but also her discomfort with independence.

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© Casa de S.M. el Rey

Some of the events were at Albéniz Palace, the King’s residence in Barcelona, which is mostly used for ceremonial purposes.

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King Felipe once again spoke out against the separatist movement in Catalonia late last month.

The King, while not addressing the issue directly, let himself be understood during remarks at the Princess of Girona Foundation awards.

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Catalan President Carles Puigdemont greets King Felipe. © Casa de S.M. el Rey

The King, speaking to an audience that included Catalan President Carles Puigdemont, who favors a referendum on independence, expressed “sincere and firm commitment” to Girona and Catalonia.

The King also called on the audience to recall actions and values that “have made Catalonia great” and, as a result, “all of Spain.”

The King and the Madrid government have repeatedly stressed territorial unity, coexistence and the rule of law.

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King Felipe and Queen Letizia during the ceremony. © Casa de S.M. el Rey

As heir to the throne, King Felipe’s young daughter, Princess Leonor, holds the title of Princess of Asturias.

She also holds several other similar titles based on the different historical kingdoms that now make up Spain.

The Prince or Princess of Girona title went to heirs of the Aragonese throne, which included Catalonia.

The Girona region, north of Barcelona near the French border, is known for above average pro-independence sentiments.

Mini ‘scandal’

A magazine article about Princess Leonor, 11, caused a stir in recent days and gave birth to numerous online memes.

In trying to tell people about the Princess, the piece mentioned her liking Japanese film director Kurosawa.

Many Spaniards felt the Royal Household was trying to oversell the Princess, or that her tastes were too pretentious, particularly for her age.

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King Felipe today made his most direct comments against independence efforts in the Autonomous Community of Catalonia.

“Today I want to transmit a message of serenity and confidence,” said His Majesty during an event in Madrid.

© Casa de S.M. el Rey

© Casa de S.M. el Rey

In recent days King Felipe had cleared parts of his schedule to deal with developments in the divided Catalan Parliament. He had said, “These are difficult days.”

King Felipe and Queen Letzia at the Royal Site of San Lorenzo Del Escorial, the royal pantheon, for the funeral of Infante Don Carlos de Borbón-Dos Sicilias. © Casa de S.M. el Rey

King Felipe and Queen Letzia at the Royal Site of San Lorenzo Del Escorial, the royal pantheon, for the funeral of Infante Don Carlos de Borbón-Dos Sicilias. © Casa de S.M. el Rey

Today Don Felipe added, “The Constitution will prevail. Let nobody doubt that. Our Constitutional order and the Constitutional principles that dictate our coexistence will remain fully in place.”

Queen Letizia at a flag ceremony. © Casa de S.M. el Rey

Queen Letizia at a flag ceremony. © Casa de S.M. el Rey

The King said, “The Constitutional Spain of our days belongs to all of us, to the Spanish public. On them our national sovereignty rests.”

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King Felipe has strengthened his calls for Spanish unity amid ongoing talks in region of Catalonia about secession.

Pro-independence candidates recently won elections to the Catalan Parliament, but failed to get a majority of overall votes.

His Majesty addressed the issue indirectly during remarks at events surrounding the prestigious Princess of Asturias awards — formerly knows at the Prince of Asturias Awards.

© Casa de S.M. el Rey

King Felipe, Queen Letizia and Queen Sofia arrive at the awards ceremony. © Casa de S.M. el Rey

The King said, “Let us separate ourselves from everything that pretends to differentiate or reject one another.”

Filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola was one of the award recipients at the Campoamor Theater in Oviedo, Asturias.

© Casa de S.M. el Rey

King Felipe and Queen Letizia walk to their place at the table of honor. © Casa de S.M. el Rey

This week the King and Queen watched as Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy also indirectly rejection secessionist sentiments during a Madrid Royal Palace gathering.

© Casa de S.M. el Rey

© Casa de S.M. el Rey

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was in Madrid to help celebrate the 60th anniversary of Spain joining the international body.

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