Royals Celebrate Easter

Members of the Spanish Royal Family were in Palma de Mallorca today for Easter services at the cathedral there.

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It’s the first time in several years that King Juan Carlos, who turned 80 earlier this year, attended the services.

In the coming days, the family will commemorate the anniversary of the death of Infante Juan, Don Juan Carlos’ father.

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Barcelona Mayor Confronts King

Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau confronted King Felipe during a dinner yesterday to welcome this year’s Mobile World Congress in the city.

The mayor refused to formally welcome the King because she sees him as supporting police action against last year’s illegal referendum on Catalan independence. She told him so this week.

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King Felipe with Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau to the right and Spanish Vice President Soraya Sáenz de Santamaria to the left.

The King, according to sources and media outlets, responded that his role was to support the Spanish Constitution and the Catalan statute of autonomy.

 

King Receives Palestinian President

King Felipe today received Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for an official visit.

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Don Felipe welcoming President Abbas. © Casa de S.M. el Rey

The King met with Abbas at Zarzuela Palace and then hosted a lunch for the Palestinian delegation at the Royal Palace in downtown Madrid.

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King Felipe, President Abbas and other officials pose for pictures at Zarzuela Palace. © Casa de S.M. el Rey

Israel has not taken too kindly with European efforts to recognize Palestinian statehood. But the King recently welcomed Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and with significantly more pomp.

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Spanish and Palestinian delegations at the Madrid Royal Palace Hall of Columns. © Casa de S.M. el Rey

While the King greeted Abbas at Zarzuela and then hosted a lunch at the Madrid Royal Palace’s Hall of Columns, Rivlin got a larger welcoming and a grander gathering in the formal dining room.

Queen Letizia Visiting Mexico

Queen Letizia is on a brief work trip to Mexico this week without King Felipe.

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© Casa de S.M. el Rey

Her Majesty visited the Mexican Red Cross headquarters in Mexico City yesterday and heard about recovery efforts following the recent earthquake there.

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© Casa de S.M. el Rey

Today the Queen was set to attend a meeting of the Union for International Cancer Control.

Queen Calls For Better, Fairer Country

Queen Letizia today called for progress toward a better, fairer Spain during remarks in Valencia.

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© Casa de S.M. el Rey

The Queen represented the Crown during the Rey Jaime I award in the community of Lonja de los Mercaderes.

Her husband, King Felipe, is said to have cleared his schedule once again to attend to the crisis in Catalonia.

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© Casa de S.M. el Rey

The Queen praised the award recipients and said that with learning and innovation “we will continue growing as a country toward a better and more just Spain.”

 

King Celebrates Spain Amid Unrest

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.

King Slams Catalonia Defiance

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.”