Spain’s Royal Family was in Barcelona this week for public events despite strong protests from Catalan separatists.
King Felipe, Queen Letizia, Princess Leonor and Infanta Sofia were in the city to hand out the Princess of Girona Awards.
The King suggested his very presence in the city would send a message. He said intolerance and violence had no place in Catalonia.
The King’s daughter, Princess Leonor, who is Princess of Girona, said she was proud to hold the title. She spoke at length in Catalan.
Pro-independence leaders tried to convince electoral authorities to keep the Royal Family away because of the upcoming national voting. They accuse the King of not being an impartial broker.
Several police forces have converged in Barcelona for the royal visit and the upcoming elections.
As heir to the Spanish throne, Princess Leonor holds several titles, including Princess of Asturias and of Girona.
Leonor, the Princess of Asturias, delivered her first major public address last week as heir to the Spanish throne.
The princess recently read parts of the Spanish Constitution during an event, but last week’s remarks at the Princess of Asturias Awards were more notable.
Her Royal Highness said she was honored to hold the title of Princess of Asturias and spoke of her Asturian blood. Her mother, Queen Letizia, is from Asturias.
King Felipe had tender words for his daughter, who will soon turn 13. He told her to have courage and valor.
His words came amid violent protests in Barcelona and Madrid by Catalan pro-independence activists.
The Princess of Asturias awards are given to artists, scholars and leaders around the world.
As heir to the Spanish throne, Princess Leonor has been going through a grooming process to prepare her for public life. Last week’s speech was a key part of that effort.
Members of the Spanish Royal Family have been extremely visible during their vacations in Mallorca.
The goal is to defuse all the talk of controversy surrounding King Juan Carlos, and also move past the recent public tension between Queen Letizia and Queen Sofia.
Earlier this week, King Felipe and Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez met at Marivent Palace in Palma de Mallorca, and later Queen Letizia and Sánchez’s wife María Begoña joined in for lunch.
The King also participated in the King’s Cup Regatta and awards ceremony, and held an evening gathering for local leaders at Almudaina Palace with Queen Letizia and Queen Sofia.
Earlier this month, King Felipe, Queen Letizia and their daughters — Princess Leonor and Infanta Sofia — posed for pictures at Almudaina Palace and greeted reporters.
Queen Sofia, Queen Letizia, the princess and the infanta visited walked around a market.
More family members, including Infanta Elena and Princess Irene, Queen Sofia’s sister, joined the royals for a concert.
Members of the Royal Family and other close relatives also had dinner out together, as has become tradition.
King Juan Carlos, meanwhile, remains away from official activities. He missed the inauguration of Colombia’s new president because of health reasons, outlets reported.
Princess Leonor, heir to the Spanish Crown, celebrated her first communion at school last week along with family.
Pictures of the actual ceremony have yet to emerge, but members of the Royal Family posed for the waiting press outside.
Present were King Felipe and Queen Letizia, King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia, and Infanta Sofia, among others.
Separately, members of the Royal Family this weekend celebrated the first communion for the children of King Felipe’s cousin, the son of Infanta Pilar, King Juan Carlos’ sister.