The King of Spain, Felipe VI bestowed the Order of Civil Merit on various Spanish citizens on Wednesday at the Royal Palace of Madrid. Queen Letizia accompanied her husband, as did their two daughters, Leonor, Princess of Asturias and Infanta Sofía.
The ceremony took place on the fifth anniversary of King Felipe’s enthronement, and 41 citizens (from 17 autonomous communities and the two autonomous cities) were given the honour. According to Casa Real, these people were chosen “in recognition of their personal commitment and social contribution.”
“The Order of Civil Merit, instituted by His Majesty King Alfonso XIII, aims to reward the merits of a civil nature that provide or have rendered relevant services to the State, with extraordinary work, fruitful initiatives or with exemplary perseverance in the fulfilment of its obligations,” they explained.
The oldest awardee was a 107-year-old woman, Clotilde Veniel Gómez and the youngest was a 19-year-old woman. In total, 19 women were decorated, as were 22 men.
The King spoke ahead of presenting the honours speaking about the honourees saying, “You are the protagonists of that united and universal Spain; and you are a true source of pride for all of us, for all our compatriots; we admire you. Congratulations; and, above all, thank you from the heart.
“You are a moral reference that offers us a mirror in which to look at ourselves; a stimulus – and an image – of behaviour to be able to emulate in our day today.”
Continuing King Felipe remarked, “Together you form a whole, a true chain of exemplaries that illuminates our path to follow. You show us the path of coexistence and highlight the importance of dignity and the commitment to be citizens of 21st century Spain.”
The award list can be seen here.
After the ceremony, Their Majesties and Their Royal Highnesses took a group photo with the distinguished guests, as well as sixth-grade students from a local school who are the same age as Infanta Sofía.