The King of Spain has led events marking the 40th anniversary of his country’s constitution. And as Felipe VI addressed the Spanish parliament to mark the occasion, he had warm words for his parents, King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofía.
During his address to politicians, Felipe spoke of the determination and decisiveness of his father, Juan Carlos, in bringing to fruition the Spanish Constitution which fully established democracy in the country and spoke warmly of the support his mother, Sofía, had provided throughout a time he described as ‘’transcendental’’ for his nation.
His words led to a resounding and long lasting round of applause for Juan Carlos and Sofía who took it in turns to acknowledge the other as the clapping continued. There was also a warm ovation for King Felipe at the end of his speech in which he praised all those who had worked to bring the constitution into being and talked about the impact it had had on life in Spain.
Felipe was speaking at a special meeting at the Congress of Deputies in Madrid marking the four decades since the ratification of the constitution by the Spanish people who went to the polls on 6 December 1978 in a referendum which put support for the laws at over 90%. It marked the final move to democracy initiated in the early days of the reign of King Juan Carlos who took power on the death of the fascist dictator, Francisco Franco, who ruled Spain for forty years.
Felipe VI had arrived at the Congress of Deputies with Queen Letizia and their two daughters, Leonor, Princess of Asturias and the Infanta Sofía. King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofía also joined them on the steps of the building with all the royals pausing to acknowledge the crowds. Inside, the royal party was greeted by politicians including several former Prime Ministers before taking their seats for the solemn event which also included a speech by Ana Pastor, the President of the Congress of Deputies.
This week has seen several royal events marking the 40th anniversary of the Spanish Constitution. On 3 December, King Felipe and Queen Letizia opened a display on art in the run-up to the ratification of the constitution while the following day, King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofía inaugurated an exhibition on democracy in Spain over the last forty years. And on 5 December, Felipe and Letizia attended a concert marking the 40th anniversary of the constitution.