King Felipe’s Christmas Eve address, in which he spoke of the importance of principles and ethics, has become the most watched royal festive speech in Spanish history.
The broadcast, which was shown across a number of channels in Spain at 9pm, broke the record for number of viewers set in 1993 when Felipe’s father, King Juan Carlos, addressed Spain.
This year’s speech was watched by a total of 10.7 million people, around 71 per cent of viewers. The speech of 1993 was seen by 10.2 million people.
However, it isn’t the most watched address of Felipe’s reign. Earlier this year, a total of 14.6 million tuned in to watch his special broadcast as the coronavirus pandemic took hold. In 2017, an audience of 12.4 million listened to his speech following the Catalan referendum on October 1st, a vote which had been declared illegal by the Spanish government before it took place and which saw police stop some people casting ballots and violence break out.
Anticipation ahead of this year’s Christmas speech had been high as speculation mounted over what King Felipe might say about the controversies surrounding his father, King Juan Carlos. Several politicians from Podemos, the minority coalition partner in the Spanish government, had called for the current monarch to condemn the former in the address after a year which had seen serious allegations raised about Juan Carlos’ finances, leading to his flight into self imposed exile in August.
In the end, King Felipe made a veiled reference to his father as he spoke about integrity. The Spanish king said ”together with our democratic principles and compliance with the laws, we also need to preserve the ethical values that are at the roots of our society….moral and ethical principles…oblige us all without exceptions; and they are above any consideration, of whatever nature, even personal or family ones.”
The main focus of this year’s address was the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, both on individuals and society.