On his birth­day, Spain’s King shines light on daugh­ter with top hon­our

Muscat Daily - - WORLD -

Madrid, Spain - Spain’s King Felipe VI cel­e­brated his 50th birth­day on Tues­day by shin­ing the spot­light on his 12 year old daugh­ter Leonor, honour­ing her with the coun­try’s most pres­ti­gious award as he seeks to drum up sup­port for the monar­chy.

The cer­e­mony in Madrid’s royal palace came as un­cer­tainty per­sists in Cat­alo­nia, where an at­tempt to break away and form an in­de­pen­dent repub­lic has threat­ened the unity of Spain and the monar­chy it­self.

A spokesman for the roy­als, who re­fused to be named, de­scribed the event as ‘an act of his­tor­i­cal im­por­tance for the king and the princess, heir to the throne’. Prime Min­is­ter Mar­i­ano Ra­joy added on Face­book that the pub­lic cer­e­mony was a way to un­der­score the ‘will to per­sist with Spain’s par­lia­men­tary monar­chy’.

Dur­ing the cer­e­mony, the an­gelic-look­ing princess, smil­ing and shy, stood be­tween her tall fa­ther and her grand­fa­ther Juan Car­los I, who reigned 38 years un­til his ab­di­ca­tion in 2014 fol­low­ing sev­eral scan­dals.

She curt­sied to both of them, to her mother Le­tizia and her grand­mother Sofia.

Felipe VI gave her the in­signia of the Or­der of the Golden Fleece, Spain’s most pres­ti­gious award that dates from 1430. “All your ac­tions will have to be guided by the high­est sense of dig­nity and ex­em­plar­ity, hon­esty and in­tegrity, a sense of re­nun­ci­a­tion and sac­ri­fice...and your un­re­served de­vo­tion to your coun­try and to your peo­ple,” he said.

To mark his birth­day, the royal palace over the week­end re­leased dozens of photos and videos pro­vid­ing a rare glimpse of Felipe’s do­mes­tic life with his wife Le­tizia, a for­mer TV an­chor, and their two young daugh­ters.

They show Leonor in her school uni­form hold­ing Felipe’s hand, laugh­ing while eat­ing soup at the fam­ily din­ner ta­ble, and teas­ing the king just be­fore he taped his an­nual Christ­mas mes­sage. The images are meant to make the royal cou­ple more re­lat­able to Spa­niards, in a coun­try where the monar­chy was only re­stored in 1975 fol­low­ing the death of long­time dic­ta­tor Fran­cisco Franco, and sup­port for the in­sti­tu­tion is shaky.

Juan Car­los ab­di­cated in 2014 over his poor health and a se­ries of scan­dals, par­tic­u­larly one in­volv­ing his daugh­ter Cristina whose hus­band, ex-Olympic hand­ball player Inaki Ur­dan­garin, was later found guilty of si­phon­ing off mil­lions of pub­lic funds.


Spain’s King Felipe VI (right) awards his coun­try’s most pres­ti­gious award, the Or­der of the Golden Fleece to his daugh­ter Princess Leonor, 12 year old heir to the throne, in Madrid on Tues­day

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Oman

© PressReader. All rights reserved.