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King Felipe cancels all engagements next week due to Catalonian crisis

His Majesty King Felipe VI of Spain has cancelled all of his planned engagements for next week due to the ongoing situation in Catalonia, Spain.

The King also pulled out of an event alongside his wife, Queen Letizia, on Thursday night due to the issue. Her Majesty attended the journalism awards hosted by ABC Newspaper solo on Thursday evening in Madrid. She told the assembled crowd, “I would like first to convey to you all the affection of the King, who cannot accompany us today for reasons which, I am sure, everyone understands.”

His Majesty has chosen to not attend the King Jaime I Awards in Valencia with his wife on Monday morning after the region of Catalonia declared their independence from Spain yesterday. Queen Letizia will now go alone and deliver a speech on behalf of her husband. The pair had been confirmed last week to attend the awards.

The Catalan regional parliament voted to declare the region independent of the Kingdom of Spain; however, the Spanish government in Madrid has now imposed direct rule over the area after invoking Article 155 of the Spanish constitution which allows for the suspension of the autonomy of a region.

Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said that it was essential to impose a direct rule to return “law, democracy and stability” to the separatist region.

King Felipe was declared a persona non grata by the Girona City Council in Catalonia due to his criticism of the independence referendum held in the region on 1 October.

His Majesty gave a rare televised speech two days after the referendum where he criticised Catalonian separatists and vowed: “to defend the unity of Spain.” He also called their behaviour irresponsible and that they had broken the law with their vote. The vote ordered by the separatists, he criticised, was a “total disregard for democracy.”

At the moment, no other events for the Spanish Royal Family are scheduled for the week after Monday, according to the Spanish Monarchy’s website.

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