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Royal News

King Felipe holds back tears as his daughters pay moving tribute on important anniversary

To conclude the morning celebrations for King Felipe’s 10th anniversary on the Spanish throne, the Monarchs offered a lunch to all guests that had taken part in the ceremony that saw His Majesty award 19 members of society with honours of the Order of Civil Merit. 

The lunch took place in the Gala Dining Hall of the Royal Palace in Madrid, where most of the State Banquets are also held, when Madrid hosts State Visits. 

Infanta Sofia speaks about her parents, King Felipe and Queen Letizia (Casa de S.M. el Rey still/ fair use)

Everyone was already sat as King Felipe, Queen Letizia, Princess Leonor and Infanta Sofía made their entrance, and, in a breech of tradition, sat in a different configuration: King Felipe and Queen Letizia were opposite each other at the centre of the long side of the table, while Princess Leonor and Infanta Sofía were at the short ends. Furthermore, authorities were mixed among the guests, rather than occupying prominent roles. 

This, King Felipe said in his toast, was done to promote better integration among the guests, as well as to encourage conversation and to make everyone feel on the same level. 

He once again welcomed all guests, and thanked the honour recipients for their example and tireless work. 

King Felipe couldn’t contain his pride in his daughters as they paid tribute to him (Casa de S.M. el Rey still/ fair use)

As everyone sat down and the connection was about to be cut, the public could see Princess Leonor and Infanta Sofía get up from their seats, with confused looks being exchanged across the room. 

They positioned themselves behind Queen Letizia and, phone in hand, began their surprise moment. It was Princess Leonor who began the speech by opening with “Mum, dad, Your Majesties”. Infanta Sofía continued: “We’re sorry to cut in, but we also have something to say today. Thank you for accompanying us in remembering that over these past 10 years we have learned from our parents what the commitment all four of us have with the Spanish people means”. 

Princess Leonor continued: “Now, I would like you to join us in a toast to our mother and our father, to our King and Queen…”. Here she was interrupted by applause, before she could continue: “Because since we were born they taught us the value of this institution, of the Crown, its usefulness in our society and its purpose of serving everyone”. 

King Felipe hugs his daughters after their surprise tribute to him (Casa de S.M. el Rey still/ fair use)

It was upon Infanta Sofía to end the speech, with a simple and heartfelt: “Mum, dad, thank you”. Two glasses were then brought to them, and they toasted with the public, before hugging Queen Letizia and then King Felipe, who was every inch the proud (and moved) father. 

Reports vary as to who knew about this, but one thing was clear from the start: King Felipe was none the wiser. He was shown to blow kisses to his daughters from the other side of the table as they ended their short speech, before speaking with guests without being able to stop smiling. 

The lunch’s menu was created by Chef María José San Román, a recipient of the Golden Medal to the Merit of Fine Arts in 2022, and was made of an entrée of beetroot velvet with tomato and lobster springs, followed by a main dish of pickled bonito with balsamic muscat vinegar and fresh seaweed. The dessert was a chocolate millefeuille with Jijona nougat. All dishes were accompanied by a selection of both white, red and cava wines.

This evening, Princess Leonor and Infanta Sofía will meet a group of young winners of the award scheme “What is a King to you?” at the Galleries of the Royal Collections, before a concert will be offered by the music unit of the Royal Guards, which will feature, among other pieces, a new composition called “Ouverture Felipe VI”, written specifically for the Monarch by composer Óscar Navarro.