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King Felipe and Queen Letizia this week made their first official visit as Spanish Monarchs to the Netherlands.

They visited King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima, plus a number of Dutch government officials.

© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos

© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos

The couples are said to have a close relationship, particularly the Queens, who recently sat together at the United Nations. Queen Máxima is from Argentina and, like Queen Letizia, is not of Royal birth.

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Separately this week, King Felipe opened this year’s session of the Royal Academies. Tradition calls for His Majesty to visit different academies every year. This time he went to the Royal Academy of Sciences.

© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos

© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos

Queen Sofia was at the Monumental Theater in Madrid on Thursday to award the Queen Sofia Musical Composition Award.

© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos

© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos

King Felipe and Queen Letizia presided this weekend over the first Fiesta Nacional event of their young reign.

© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos

© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos

The Fiesta Nacional, or National Day, involves a military parade in downtown Madrid. The Royal Family watches from an elaborate reviewing stand.

Princess Leonor, the new Princess of Asturias, and Infanta Sofia stood with their parents during the event.

The Royals then hosted a reception at the Royal Palace in Madrid. It included hundreds of guests from government and civil society, an expansion from previous years.

© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos

The King and Queen in the Royal Palace Throne Room. Note that the thrones now include a carving of the Spanish Crown. Before, they had a carving of King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia. © Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos

King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia were not at the Fiesta Nacional this year, opting to leave the spotlight to the new King and Queen.

Separately, in recent weeks Spanish media reported that Rafael Spottorno, former head of the Royal Household under King Juan Carlos, resigned as a royal adviser because of allegations that he improperly used a credit card from bank Caja Madrid.

King Juan Carlos met this week with his wife Queen Sofia and his daughter-in-law Queen Letizia. It’s the first time Don Juan Carlos had been seen together with the Queens in months.

Media outlets have long questioned the closeness of King Juan Carlos’ relationship with both his wife and his daughter-in-law.

They used a traditional Red Cross fundraising event, where members of the Royal Family sit at tables around Madrid, for a display of unity.

© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos

Queen Sofia pins her husband. © Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos


© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos

Queen Letizia and King Juan Carlos pose for pictures. © Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos

Meanwhile, King Felipe made a visit this week to Royal Guard headquarters and accepted credentials from new ambassadors at the Royal Palace in Madrid.

© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos

© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos


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King Felipe and Queen Letizia last week celebrated the Spanish press during an awards ceremony in Madrid.

“The press, like all of us who are at the service of the people, must work to live immersed in current events and be aware of people’s problems,” said the King.

© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos

© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos

His Majesty called on the press to work based on rigor and a search for truth, and with the “independence, freedom of expression, and whatever guarantees assist and dignify journalism.”

He stressed the need to look out for the “general interest, cohesion and prosperity of all.”

Queen Letizia was once a television news reporter who covered the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Latin American businessmen are recognizing King Juan Carlos’ work for Latin American political, economic and social integration.

His Majesty made developing stronger ties between Iberia and Latin America a top priority during his 39-year reign.

As titular head of the Organization of Ibero-American States, Don Juan Carlos often traveled or worked the phones to corral world leaders to the group’s summits.

© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos

© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos

King Juan Carlos said “it’s now up to my son, King Don Felipe, to continue promoting the highest level of relations with countries in our Historic Community.”

Separately, Queen Sofia received the Steiger Award in Hattingen, Germany for her humanitarian works as head of the Queen Sofia Foundation, including her commitment to combating Alzheimer’s disease.

© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos

German musician Peter Maffay presents Queen Sofia with the award. © Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos

Queen Sofia, of German royal blood, also visited her daughter, Infanta Cristina, who is now living in Geneva.

Even though the Infanta could face a corruption trial in Spain connected with her husband’s business dealings, Queen Sofia has worked to promote family unity. The couple has denied wrongdoing.

Interestingly, members of Queen Letizia’s family, including her father and grandmother, are in legal trouble over allegations of hiding assets.

Queen Letizia’s relatives have no royal duties. And Infanta Cristina is no longer a member of the Royal Family since her father’s abdication.

King Felipe highlighted Spain’s role in the international arena and called for unity amid strong divisions at home, particularly from Catalan separatism.

Don Felipe, speaking at the United Nations last week, noted the soon to be celebrated 40-year anniversary of the Spanish transition.

The King said the transition “allowed us to pass from a dictatorship to a politics of freedom and human rights, marked by a commitment to historic reconciliation and a spirit of coexistence.”

© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos

© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos

King Felipe, marking the first address to the General Assembly of his young reign, said Spain had a “profound sense of equality, and rejects fanaticism, violence, intolerance and loves piece.”

Even though the King’s speech as international in nature, it’s hard for observers not to attempt ties to the current controversy in Spain.

The Spanish government either helps write or approves His Majesty’s messages. It’s the same government calling for unity amid separatism, and rejecting the Catalan Government’s planned referendum on statehood or independence.

© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos

Queen Letizia sits with Queen Máxima of the Netherlands, who is originally from Argentina. The two have seemed to have developed a friendship. © Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos

Noting a version of Pablo Picasso’s famous painting Guernica, which shows the horrors of the Spanish Civil War, which was particularly harsh on Catalonia and is seen as the true beginning on World War II, King Felipe called for “more unity against fanaticism, intolerance and barbarism.”

He called for “more unity to fight poverty, misery and marginalization. More unity for education and health care for all. And more unity to defend with resolve the dignity of all human beings.”

King Felipe and Queen Letizia give U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon a dedicated picture from their proclamation. © Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos

King Felipe and Queen Letizia give U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon a dedicated picture from their proclamation.
© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos

Their Majesties have several more trips planned, including to Catalonia and abroad to countries including Mexico.

Ever since King Juan Carlos abdicated the Spanish throne, speculation has surrounded Queen Sofia — What will her role be? Will she spend more time with family and friends abroad?

It appears that Queen Sofia’s commitment with the Spanish people is not diminishing. She has remained in the public eye, recently attending a performance of Mozart’s Requiem in Toledo.

Queen Sofia greeting a crowd of well-wishers. © Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos

Queen Sofia greeting a crowd of well-wishers.
© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos

Media reports say the Queen Mother will continue making official appearances on behalf of the Crown and will keep heading the Queen Sofia Foundation.

This week Her Majesty was in Barcelona in that role, opening a meeting on neurodegenerative diseases.

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We’ll likely see more members of the Royal Family visit Catalonia more often amid pro-independence rumblings there.

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