King Felipe and Queen Letizia this month led the country’s second state ceremony for victims of the COVID-19 pandemic and those continuing to suffer and sacrifice because of the disease.
Their Majesties presided over the ceremony at the Madrid Royal Palace and awarded four posthumous Grand Crosses of Civil Merit to health workers who died caring for pandemic patients.
Members of Spain’s Royal Family have been active in response to the pandemic following concern King Felipe had been to slow to speak about the crisis. He first delivered televised remarks to the nation in mid-March 2020.
Members of the Spanish Royal Family were in Barcelona earlier this month to hand out the Princess of Girona Foundation Awards to leaders in different fields, like science and business.
The heir to the Spanish throne, Princess Leonor, is not only princess of Asturias but also of Girona. The Principality of Asturias historically belong to the heir to the Castilian throne while the Principality of Girona belonged to the heir of the Aragonese throne. Modern Spain includes both kingdoms.
The princess, who is 15 and still preparing for official duties, delivered remarks in Catalan because of her presence in the capital of the Autonomous Community of Catalonia. Girona is also an important Catalan city.
Catalan nationalist leaders have avoided members of the Royal Family since forming a coalition government earlier this year. They also skipped King Felipe’s visit for the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, including a lunch at Albéniz Palace.
Also in recent days, King Felipe and Queen Letizia held a ceremony at the Madrid Royal Palace for United Nations Secretary General António Guterres. His Majesty offered some words in Portuguese.
King Felipe, Queen Letizia, Princess Leonor and Infanta Sofia presided over the annual Fiesta Nacional commemoration in Madrid today.
However, because of the coronavirus pandemic, the National Day celebration was scaled down significantly. Instead of a parade through Madrid’s main avenues, the Royal Family reviewed Spanish forces at the Royal Palace.
Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez was on hand for the celebrations, which included military jets flying over the palace and the city.
Note Princess Leonor, to the left above, wearing a pin for the Order of the Golden Fleece. She joined the order in preparation to assume the duties of heir to the throne.
Other recent activity
The King in recent days made a much anticipated visit to Barcelona with the prime minister for an economic awards ceremony.
His Majesty opened the academic year for the Royal Academies during a visit to the Royal Spanish Academy on Oct. 7.
A day earlier, on Oct. 6, the King and Queen led a meeting of the Cervantes Institute leadership at the Royal Palace of El Pardo.
Earlier in the month, King Felipe met with Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa during an event in Galicia on trans-Atlantic dialogue.
King Felipe, Queen Letizia and their daughters made the rounds in Mallorca today as they started the public phase of their summer vacation.
Locals and media outlets are paying special attention this year because of the scandal surrounding King Felipe’s father, King Juan Carlos.
Don Felipe today met with Balearic Island leaders at Almudaina Palace in Palma as is tradition.
King Felipe, Queen Letizia, Princess Leonor and Infanta Sofia then visited Junipero Serra’s childhood home. Serra was a Catholic missionary in what is now California.
Serra has a become figuere of controversy in the U.S. because of his treatment of Native Americans.
Queen Sofia, who favors vacationing in Mallorca, arrived at Marivent Palace in recent weeks. The Royal Household has been working to shield her from the controversy surrunding her husbad, King Juan Carlos.
King Felipe and Queen Letizia have been crisscrossing Spain for the past several week during a delicate time for the country and the Royal Family.
Their Majesties worked to be active during the pandemic lockdown and have been visible during the reopening, including visiting several museums and cultural attractions.
They have also visited beaches and walked through numerous communities. Their visits have been informal and meant to connect them with regular people.
Spaniards, fed up with corruption, the Catalan crisis, recession and scandal, have taken out their frustrations on the governing class — including the Monarchy. Despite the Royal Family’s efforts, many people see them as not having done enough to fight COVID-19.
Then there’s King Juan Carlos, who is embroiled in a financial scandal related to $100 million gift from the Saudis, some of which may have ended up in the hands of a former lover.
King Felipe has disconnected himself from his father financially and discussions are ongoing about the elder monarch’s status within the Royal Family.