Saturday 13 December 2014

« C'est phénoménal »

The sky over Brussels was in mourning. The funeral of Queen Fabiola of Belgium was a sad event for the country, but the rainy, windy and over-all wintry weather added to the « tristesse  » as the French would call it. Only a few thousand Belgians lined the streets and gathered in front of the churches Saints Michel et Gudule and Notre-Dame de Laeken to farewell the Spanish-born noblewoman Doña Fabiola Fernanda Maria de las Victorias Antonia Adelaïda de Mora y Aragón who had been their Queen for 33 years. With her husband, the late King Baudouin of the Belgians, whom she had married on 15th December 1960 in one of the first internationally live broadcast royal weddings, she became a symbol of the Belgian unity. When King Baudouin died of a heart attack on 31st July 1993, she insisted on not wearing black, but white. She stuck out at the funeral procession through the streets of Brussels.

This Friday not only Belgian nationals, Spaniards or other Europeans paid their respect. From all over the world members of royal families flew to Brussels to assist in the religious service. Japan's Empress Michiko, Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, Prince Moulay Rachid El Alaoui of Morocco, King Mohammed VI's brother, and Sweden's Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia, where among the guests. King Harald V and his sister Princess Astrid came from Norway. Princess Sirindhorn flew in from Thailand and sat next to Princess Beatrix, the former Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands. King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia from Spain joined the congregation singing a Spanish hymn. Prince Vittorio Emmanuele, Prince of Naples, whose mother was a sister of King Leopold III of the Belgians, sat next to Dom Duarte of Portugal, Duke of Bragança. France was represented by Prince Eudes of Orléans, the youngest son of the Count of Paris. The Habsburg family were represented by the head of the Imperial House, Archduke Karl, and other members who found refuge in Belgium, first and foremost Archduke Lorenz who is married to Princess Astrid of Belgium, sister of King Philippe I. Luxemburg's Grand Ducal family came from the neighbouring country, including 90 year old Grand Duke Jean in a wheel chair. At some stage Duke Michael of Württemberg was visible, but this wasn't confirmed by the commentator, the well-known French journalist Stéphane Bern who was at RTL-Belgium giving very useful explanations. He knew the members of Kuwait's and Qatar's royal family and could name the members of the important noble families of Belgium, like the Prince de Ligne.

In this list of royal guests one house is missing: Windsor. Her Majesty did not send a member of the British Royal Family, but had asked her ambassador in Brussels, H.E. Alison Rose, to represent her at the funeral service. The Belgians were not amused about being snubbed: L'absence de la famille royale britannique énerve les réseaux sociaux.

None of the members of the Belgian Royal Family were missing. King Philippe and Queen Mathilde led the mourners and were visibly grief stricken. And so were their children, the hereditary Princess Elisabeth, her brother Prince Gabriel and the two youngest, Prince Emmanuel and Princess Eléonore. King Albert II, who had abdicated last year, and his wife Queen Paola looked shaken. And so was Prince Laurent, their youngest son, who had been in hospital for a couple of weeks this year. But even he had to smile, when a Spanish choir, La chorale hispanique de Vilvorde (a suburb of Brussels), sang "Salve Rociera”. Even King Juan Carlos joined in and the members of Queen Fabiola's Spanish family sang this traditional funeral song.

The body of the late Queen Fabiola was interred in the royal crypt at the church Notre-Dame de Laeken. Before she was finally laid to rest, two members of her household paid their respect to their old "patronne" (boss). It was a lovely and moving good-bye from two of her closest collaborators. The congregation had to smile, when the marshal of her household repeated her favourite gesture (raising to joined hands) and her favourite phrase for praise: C'est phénoménal!

This is how Her Majesty always will be remembered: A lovely smiling lady. May she rest in peace!

Friday 7 November 2014

Prince Charles in a funny Aussie video

Countdown: His Royal Highness The Prince Of Wales roasts Molly Meldrum

Do yourself a favour and check out this Countdown 40th birthday sketch in which HRH The Prince of Wales good-naturedly roasts Molly Meldrum.

Tuesday 4 November 2014

Prince Edward on a five-day tour through Australia

Prince Edward waving to spectators at Point Piper, Sydney.
On Monday, 3rd November Prince Edward, The Earl of Wessex began a five-day tour through Australia, with 17 official stops in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth.

The Queen's youngest son arrived from South Korea, where he as Trustee of The Duke of Edinburgh's International Award Foundation, attended the International Gold Event Korea Emerging Leaders Forum at the National Youth Centre of Korea, Chungham, Seoul.

Prince Edward will perform similar duties in Australia where he will commemorate more than 50 years of the Duke of Edinburgh Award in Australia. After his arrival in Sydney The Earl of Wessex met NSW Premier Mike Baird on Monday, after visiting the Prince Edward Yacht Club at Point Piper. An afternoon reception at Parliament House was also attended by Minister for Sport and Recreation Stuart Ayres.

On Tuesday, the Prince visited the Art Gallery of NSW before meeting Duke of Edinburgh Award participants from eight inner west schools at Ashfield Boys High School. About 22,000 young Australians are enrolled on the scheme, the largest youth development program in the world.

During his stay downunder he will meet more than 1,000 young people and ,1200 volunteers throughout the country.

Having been committed to the award since achieving his gold in 1986, the Prince is the United Kingdom and International Trustee and Chairman of The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Council.

The Earl’s visit to Australia begins just after his sister’s had ended. In October The Princess Royal had a four day visit to Australia where she visited numerous charities she supports and is patron of, like the Royal Agricultural Society of the Commonwealth (RASC).

Prince Edward met Duke of Edinburgh Award participants.

Tuesday 28 October 2014

"It's an amazing thing for a kid from Western Australia to end up sitting having a cup of tea with His Royal Highness"

Since February 2003 Prince Charles has been President of the Victoria Cross and George Cross Association. On Monday 27th October Prince Charles invited some of the Commonwealth's bravest war heroes to St James' Palace.

Among the guests were Afghanistan war veterans Ben Roberts-Smith, Corporal Daniel Keighran and Corporal Mark Donaldson from Australia. They were also joined by 20 other Victoria and George cross holder, including Keith Payne VC from Queensland, who saved the lives of soldiers under his command in Vietnam in 1969 and received his VC from the Queen aboard the Royal Yacht, Britannia, in Brisbane. Ben Roberts-Smith commented that the reunion at St James' Palace was made that little bit more special because of their connection with Prince Charles: "It's an amazing thing for a kid from Western Australia to end up sitting having a cup of tea with His Royal Highness."

Corporal Keighran spoke of the event: "It is incredibly humbling to talk to these guys and hear their stories. To be a part of that group as well I don't think I'll get used to it. Every year there are fewer members, so its good to come together."

Australian Army Corporal Ben Roberts-Smith received the Victoria Cross for Australia in January after his efforts during an operation in Afghanistan in June 2010, when he killed three insurgents who were attacking his patrol.

Monday 27 October 2014

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 35 years an independent Dominion

On 27th October 1979 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, a territory that had been a British colony since 1783, gained independence as a Dominion. Since then Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has been head of state as Queen of St Vincent and the Grenadines.

In 2009 politicians tried to replace the Monarchy with as republic, but this proposal was defeated in a popular referendum. 29,019 votes (55.64 per cent) voted for the Monarchy, while 22,493 (43.13 per cent) gave preference to a politicians' republic.

Congratulations to the people of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines on their independence day and on their wise decision to remain a Constitutional Monarchy. 

Sunday 26 October 2014

95th Birthday of Mohammad Reza Shah

This post is not only dedicated to His Imperial Majesty Shah-an-Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlevi who was born 95 years ago on 26th October 1919, but also to Reyhaneh Jabbari. The twenty-six-year-old Reyhaneh Jabbari was hanged by the terrorist Islamic Republic in a Tehran prison yesterday at dawn. RI.P.

Mohammad Reza Shah (26th October 1919 – 27th July 1980)
Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi (Persian: Mohamad Rezā Ŝāh Pahlawi; [mohæmˈmæd reˈzɒː ˈʃɒːhe pæhlæˈviː]‎; 26th October 1919 – 27th July 1980) was Iran's Monarch (Shah of Iran) from 16th September 1941 after his father abdicated in his favour. He took the title Ŝāhanŝāh ("Emperor" or "King of Kings") on 26th October 1967.

Although Iran, also called Persia, was the world’s oldest empire, dating back 2,500 years, by 1900 it was floundering. Bandits dominated the land; literacy was one percent; and women, under archaic Islamic dictates, had no rights.

The Shah changed all this. Primarily by using oil-generated wealth, he modernized the nation. He built rural roads, postal services, libraries, and electrical installations. He constructed dams to irrigate Iran’s arid land, making the country 90-percent self-sufficient in food production. He established colleges and universities, and at his own expense, set up an educational foundation to train students for Iran’s future.

The Shah was one of the first heads of state who visited Germany after WW II (here signing the guest book of Hamburg in 1955)
To encourage independent cultivation, the Shah donated 500,000 Crown acres to 25,000 farmers. In 1978, his last full year in power, the average Iranian earned $2,540, compared to $160 25 years earlier. Iran had full employment, requiring foreign workers. The national currency was stable for 15 years, inspiring French economist André Piettre to call Iran a country of “growth without inflation.” Although Iran was the world’s second largest oil exporter, the Shah planned construction of 18 nuclear power plants. He built an Olympic sports complex and applied to host the 1988 Olympics (an honour eventually assigned Seoul), an achievement unthinkable for other Middle East nations.

The Shah protected minorities and permitted non-Muslims to practice their faiths. “All faith,” he wrote, “imposes respect upon the beholder.” The Shah also brought Iran into the 20th century by granting women equal rights. This was not to accommodate feminism, but to end archaic brutalization.

Commemorating the late Shah, his wife, Her Imperial Majesty Shahbanu Farah wrote:

"Mohammad Reza Shah ascended the throne during the perilous and turbulent years of WWII, during which armed forces of Britain and the Soviet Union entered Iran’s soil and forced Reza Shah to abdicate the throne and leave the country, while both powers seemed to desire to see someone other than his eldest son become king. Since his early years on the throne, Mohammad Reza Shah had believed, and so stated, that the following five elements were a part of the fundamental rights of the Iranian people: Food, clothing, housing, education, and healthcare. However, the first 12 years of his reign were consumed by efforts to defend and maintain Iran’s independence and territorial integrity, including forcing the Soviet Union to vacate Iran’s soil, liberate Azerbaijan from the hands of a Soviet puppet regime, stand up to the ever-increasing power of the Tudeh Party, and secure Iran’s rights over its oil resources in the country’s southern regions.

Farah Diba married Mohammed Reza Shah on 20th December 1959, aged 21.

"Contrary to claims made by Mohammad Reza Shah’s opponents, it was he who encouraged Dr. Mossadegh to accept the post of prime minister, helping him gain Parliament’s vote of confidence. He never wavered from supporting Mossadegh against domestic and foreign enemies opponents? He felt obligated by the constitutional demands and powers of his office to dismiss Mossadegh, because Mossadegh had clearly failed to resolve the oil crisis, brought the country close to bankruptcy, and allowed the Tudeh Party, backed by Moscow, to achieve extraordinary power. Even then, had Mossadegh not forced the parliament that no longer supported him to dissolve by staging an illegal referendum, and had he still enjoyed parliamentary support, he would not have dismissed him.

"Unlike the Islamic Republic that, knowingly or otherwise, has endangered Iran and the Iranians and has made them face threats of destruction and ruin, Mohammad Reza Shah considered guarding the nation from danger and harm to be the main duty of the government. For this reason, the Shah’s foreign policy was based on having friendly relations with the international community, while he considered a strong and modern military to be the guarantor of Iran’s protection from foreign invasion.

"To truly appreciate Mohammad Reza Shah’s achievements for Iran, we must place them in context: the chaos of the war and oil nationalization years, and the social, economic, cultural and geostrategic evolution of Iran between 1954 and 1978. Within the short time-span of 24 years, Iran, still one of the most underdeveloped nations of the world in the 1940s, became an outstanding example of a rapidly developing economy and society during the 1960s and 70s, boasting one of the world’s highest rates of economic growth, as well as a rare record in the area of social welfare and cultural change. A few examples of Iran’s progress and development are as follows:

"Iranian women were granted the right to vote, as well as the right to be appointed or elected to any position, including those of judges, lawmakers, and ministers. With the passage of laws concerning 'family welfare,' women were given equal rights with men, particularly in the areas of marriage and child custody. The number of women enrolled in universities rose steadily. The passage of the 'National Action' law, allowed women to participate and have a role in all governmental decisions that affected women’s status, freedom, equality, and other social issues. The basic principle of this action, long before it was adopted in other countries, was that women played a role in all events and aspects of the society, and were involved in its affairs.

"Education and educational institutions spread across the country to towns and villages. In 1975, education and daily meals for every child, from kindergarten to eighth grade became free. A number of Iranian universities, including Aryamehr Technological University (now Sharif) and Pahlavi University in Shiraz were able to compete with the best institutions in developed countries. Nearly 60 thousand Iranian students were studying in some of the best universities in the West. By 1976, Iran had become the first nation among the countries of the “South” to reverse the brain-drain, providing what was necessary to make a qualitative leap in science and technology.

"-Iran’s economy and society became outstanding models of development, with its income per capita that was less than $100 back in the 40′s, jumping to $2400 in 1978.

"-Land Reform freed the farmers from the yoke of landowners; every farmer became a land-owner, able to farm and join cooperatives.

"-In 1963, Sepah-e-Danesh (Education Corps) was established, and in 1964 and 1965 respectively, Sepah-e-Behdasht (Health Corps) and Sepah-e-Tarvij-va-Abadani (Reconstruction and Development Corps) were created to serve in small towns and villages.

"-In 1965, the citizens themselves established Arbitration Councils and Houses of Justice to adjudicate problems.

"-According to a newly passed law in 1975, the Iranian government was mandated to provide every Iranian social security benefits. The same year, workers gained the right to buy shares in large industrial plants.

"-In 1975, pregnant women and children under the age of two received qualified to receive food and nutritional assistance.

"-Unlike the Consortium Agreement of 1954, when Iran’s oil had not yet become truly nationalized, in 1973, the nationalization of oil became a reality. With Mohammad Reza Shah’s direct involvement, Iran’s government annulled the 1954 agreement and signed a new one to buy and sell oil with the Consortium’s individual members. The National Iranian Oil Company took complete control of the country’s production, exploration, exports, and marketing of oil. Iran also gained total ownership of its oil reserves. Member countries of the Consortium became Iran’s premier oil customers. In reality, with the signing of the new agreement, Iran attained its goal of nationalization of oil.

"-Iran began to export natural gas to Europe by completing a pipeline and developing its natural gas industry. Had Iran been able to complete its petrochemical industry, it would have become one of the world’s major petrochemical centers a long time ago.

"-In 1974, Iran launched its peaceful nuclear program to produce nuclear energy. Had the project continued, Iran could have had three German and French-built nuclear power plants by 1980-81.

"-New industries, including steel-mills, machine-tool factories, and tractor manufacturing plants were built during that period by taking advantage of prudent and balanced relationships with the Eastern Bloc as well as the West.

"-In the areas of environmental preservation, from water resources and forests to plants and animals, Iran had become on par with advanced nations.

"-With its important strategic situation, Iran was striving to act as a bridge that would bring diverse cultures and nationalities together. Along the same lines, Iran pursued a series of cultural programs that included Shiraz Art Festival, Isfahan Folklore Festival, Toos Festival, as well as the establishment of new museums, and the promotion of music, cinema, and other visual arts. New theaters and cultural centers, government-run or private, were opening with increasing frequency. The first seminar on the “Dialogue of Civilizations” got underway in Tehran in 1978."

In 1971 Iran celebrated 2,500 years of Monarchy.
On the Shah's human rights record Alan Peters wrote:

"No mass graves trailed the Shah when he finally quit the country in January, 1979. No 'death caravans' haunted his memory. Tehran produced no equivalent of Buenos Aires' Plaza de Mayo where 'grandmas' gather every Sunday to reclaim news of their missing children. To be sure the military courts were quick to mete out death sentences. But the practice of royal pardon was abundantly resorted to. The sentences were systematically commuted or annulled.

"Some viewed this practice as a gimmick to earn political capital but be it as it may, few now dispute the fact that the Shah was averse to cruelty or execution. He even stayed Khomeini's execution in 1964.

"The overall number of executions by the military tribunals, including those occasioned by drug related offenses, after drug smuggling and distribution became a capital offense, were estimated at around 350 cases in a 25-year period. The USA has more than this and Iran currently has close to 200 a year, including teen-agers of both genders, which contravenes all laws and even Iran's own.

"Figured among them were a few prisoners of conscience including some twenty-five ring-leaders of the military wing of the Communist party of Iran. Their crime, leading to execution, was to have been mesmerized by Stalinist Russia. The rest of the six hundred communist officers arrested in nineteen fifties - as indeed the bulk of other political prisoners - were rehabilitated, many were co-opted into the Shah's administration."

Iran's future: It will be bright and Monarchical.

Saturday 25 October 2014

The Queen's message to Her Canadian people

Cpl. Nathan Cirillo (l.) standing Guards moments before the shooting.

The Queen's message to the Governor-General of Canada

Prince Philip and I were shocked and saddened by the events in Ottawa earlier today. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected.


Message de Sa Majesté la Reine à la suite de la tragédie survenue à Ottawa

Le prince Philip et moi avons été choqués et attristés par les évènements qui ont eu lieu à Ottawa hier. Nos pensées et prières accompagnent toutes les personnes touchées.


Cpl Nathan Cirillo's dogs. Such a sad sight.

Cpl. Nathan Cirillo was a member of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, a reserve infantry regiment based at the James Street Armoury in Hamilton, Ontario. Their Colonel-in-Chief is of course, Her Majesty.

Friday 24 October 2014

Harvard Professor Nelson: The Royalist Revolution - Monarchy and the American Founding

Eric Nelson is the Robert M. Beren Professor of Government at Harvard University. His research focuses on the history of political thought in early-modern Europe and America, and on the implications of that history for debates in contemporary political theory. Particular interests include the history of republican political theory, the relationship between the history of political thought and the history of scholarship, theories of property, and the phenomenon of secularisation. Nelson is the author, most recently, of The Royalist Revolution: Monarchy and the American Founding (Harvard/Belknap, 2014).

Generations of students have been taught that the American Revolution was a revolt against "royal tyranny". In this revisionist account, Eric Nelson argues that a great many of the US-American “founding fathers” saw themselves as rebels against the British Parliament, not the Crown. The Royalist Revolution interprets the patriot campaign of the 1770s as an insurrection in favour of royal power - driven by the conviction that the Lords and Commons had usurped the just prerogatives of the monarch.

Leading patriots believed that the colonies were the king’s own to govern, and they urged King George III to defy Parliament and rule directly. These theorists were proposing to turn back the clock on the English constitution, rejecting the Whig settlement that had secured the supremacy of Parliament after the Glorious Revolution. Instead, they embraced the political theory of those who had waged the last great campaign against Parliament’s “usurpations”: the reviled Stuart monarchs of the seventeenth century.

Wednesday 22 October 2014

Princess Anne visiting Queensland

On 21st October HRH Princess Anne arrived in Brisbane to attend the 26th Royal Agricultural Society of the Commonwealth (RASC) at the Royal National Agricultural and Industrial Association of Queensland (RNA) showgrounds.

The RASC conference aims to share ideas about agriculture, food, and the natural environments of Commonwealth members and is the body that unites agricultural show societies from all over the Commonwealth in order to share ideas, knowledge and skills.

Princess Anne took over as president from her father Prince Philip, who founded the society in 1957.

Princess Anne greeted a man on a horse at the Brisbane Royal Show Grounds, on her first of four days attending the Royal Agricultural Society of the Commonwealth (RASC) conference
The Princess Royal praised the conference venue - the redeveloped Royal National Association's facilities at Bowen Hills, which had been "dangling in front of us" for several years.

"So it is a pleasure to be here and to see it in the flesh. And, a big thank you to Queensland and to Brisbane for their hospitality and for being the host society for this the 26th agricultural conference."

She said she was surprised it was the first time that Brisbane had been the host city: "I am actually quite surprised that it is the first time that it has been here given the extraordinary history of Queensland as one of the greatest primary producing areas in the world," she said.

HRH praised Queenslanders' resilience against floods and its record as a world leader in beef and livestock production. "Those of us who live in slightly wetter places on a normal basis I don't think can really quite understand just what drought truly means," she said. "And for that you have huge sympathy."

She acknowledged the state's ability to bounce back after the 2011 floods. "In previous years, there was extraordinary devastation caused by flooding and 2011 was the most recent floods," she said.

RNA President David Thomas is the current vice-president of the RASC, which means he's met with the Princess Royal several times in recent years.

"I think Princess Anne has always been a popular royal, she's very hard-working," he said. "I think she's one of those people who are very approachable; my dealings with her have been completely delightful."

230 delegates from countries including the UK, Canada, Singapore, Zambia, Kenya and Uganda attend the event, as well as interstate show societies and some of the 128 local show societies in Queensland.

Mr Thomas said Brisbane organisers had added in speakers who were experts in areas besides agriculture, such as entertainment programming, social media and volunteer management. "It's a lovely combination of the traditional agriculture with strategic and operational aspects of shows," he said. "Certainly the show movement has been really happy that we've included all those things."

While the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge spent just six hours in Brisbane when they visited in April, the Princess Anne will be in town for all four days of the conference.

Her Royal Highness will also spend some time visiting charities and other groups. "She wants to meet everyone who's at this conference," Mr Thomas said. "There's no particular protocol around that, we'll just be walking around and guiding her to different groups so by the end hopefully everyone's met her once. She's a very nice person to talk to, very down-to-earth... she'll be very interested in what people have to say."

Princess Anne is the third royal to visit the RNA showgrounds, after Edward, Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII) in 1920, and Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia, in 1954.

Tuesday 26 August 2014

Prince Richard, son of former Australian Governor-General, turns 70

HRH Prince Richard, 2nd Duke of Gloucester
Born Prince Richard of Gloucester on 26th August 1944 at Northampton, he was christened Richard Alexander Walter George. When he was four months old he was taken by his parents to Australia, where his father, Prince Henry, The Duke of Gloucester, was Governor-General from 30th January 1945 to 11th March 1947. The Duke of Gloucester is the second son of the late Duke of Gloucester and the late Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester (third daughter of the 7th Duke of Buccleuch). His elder brother, Prince William, died in a tragic flying accident on 28 August 1972. Prince Richard inherited the title Duke of Gloucester on his father's death on 10th June 1974.

The Duke is 23rd in line to the throne, and is the first person in line who is not a direct descendent of King George VI; his father was Prince Henry, The Duke of Gloucester, younger brother to King Edward VIII and King George VI; this also makes him the youngest grandchild of King George V, the eldest being Queen Elizabeth.

HRH The Duke of Gloucester opened the Linburn Centre for Scottish War Blinded in 2011
After spending his childhood years in Australia, The Duke of Gloucester has constantly returned to Australia. In 2012 he attended the Grand Council Meeting at the Shangri-La Sydney, the Rocks, Sydney, as the Grand Prior of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem.

His Royal Highness, who is Patron  of the Nuffield Farming Scholarships Trust, met Nuffield Australia Farming Scholars in Sydney. The charity organisation provides a scholarship scheme for the benefit of the Australian farming community.

On 26th May 2012 The Duke of Gloucester presented the Duke of Gloucester Cup to the 2nd Battalion The Royal Australian Regiment at Victoria Barracks, Oxford Street, Sydney, New South Wales.

The Duke of Gloucester Cup

The Duke of Gloucester Cup, the three awards are presented to the most efficient infantry battalion of the Australian Army, ship of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), and squadron of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) during the previous year. The awards were created by HRH Prince Henry, The Duke of Gloucester in 1946, while he was serving as the Governor-General of Australia, and were first presented in 1947. The RAAF's Gloucester Cup recognises the most proficient flying squadron during a calendar year.

In January 2009 The Duke of Gloucester paid a visit to Melbourne,Victoria, and attended a Lecture at the Royal Society of Victoria  followed by a Reception to commemorate the Centenary of Ernest Shackleton’s Expedition’s location of the South Magnetic Pole. The Duke of Gloucester crossed the South Magnetic Pole, Antarctica, to commemorate the Centenary of the first location of the South Magnetic Pole by the Northern Party of Ernest Shackleton’s British Antarctic Expedition of 1907-1909.

The Royal Society of Victoria had offered the flyover of the South Magnetic Pole, Antarctica, 100 years after it was first positioned by a party of Australians, Edgeworth David and Douglas Mawson and Scotsman Alistair Mackay, members of Shackleton’s British Antarctic Expedition 1907-1909.

Royal Duties
Prince Richard is President of Cancer Research UK, as well as The National Association of Clubs for Young People, and is a patron of British Association of Friends of Museums, Richard III Society and Normandy Veterans Association.

TRH The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester represented Her Majesty The Queen at the Mass for the Inauguration of Pope Francis’ Pontificate on 19th March 2013. They also attended the Beatification Mass for Pope John Paul II on 1st May 2011.

At the inauguration of Pope Francis I The Duke and the Duchess of Gloucester represented The Queen.

Saturday 9 August 2014

Serbian Crown Prince Alexander II patron of the Album in Memory of our Ancestors in the Great War

His Royal Highness Crown Prince Alexander II
His Royal Highness Crown Prince Alexander II accepted with great pleasure to be the patron of the project “Album in Memory of our Ancestors in the Great War,” that has been realised by the Association of the Descendants of Serbian Warriors 1912 – 1920.

I am very happy that the Association of descendants of Serbian Warriors 1912 – 1920 initiated such a project during year when we mark beginning of the war that was remembered as the Great War, as a first war that was titled a World War, and that left tragic marks all around the world. History obliges us not to forget this cathartic experience, but to come to sense and start the restitution of general values: love, honour, of historic culture, creativity and above all – humanity. History calls upon us to take personal responsibility for the future of our ancestors, and this project is a great step forward on that path. As the great grandson of His Majesty King Peter I who went through Golgotha of the Great War together with his sons and his people, as my grandfather of HRH Regent Alexander (later His Majesty King Alexander I) who was supreme commander of Serbian Army in World War I, I had the obligation and pleasure to accept to be patron of this very important project”, Crown Prince Alexander emphasised.

French postcard in support of her Serbian ally.
The project “Album in Memory of our Ancestors in the Great War” has the main goal to increase visibility and sustainability of Serbian cultural heritage as an important part of the cultural heritage of European nations at the time of First World War. One of the primary goals is to empower citizens who chose to take part in it to give their personal touch by providing relevant documents and historic sources in marking the Centenary of the First World War.

The creation of this Album will give an opportunity for all to submit online scans of photographs of their ancestors, biographic texts, diaries, medals, letters of soldiers and other materials of importance for Serbian and world history. At the end of the project, 100 chosen photographs will be printed and exhibited at places of historic importance of this period.

Photos and other documents could be submitted via web site where all material collected so far could be seen.

A web portal and data base of materials will be put at the disposal of historians and other professionals for research and other purposes, and we will all have a lasting memory of our ancestors who fought honourably for their freedom.

General goal:

Promotion of European idea of conciliation, remembrance and devotion in the context of commemoration of the First World War. Preservation of Serbian culture and identity as part of European and World cultural heritage. Sustainability of historic and cultural heritage.

Specific goals:

Marking the centenary of the First World War through promotion of Serbian history, development of positive international image, promotion of freedom loving characteristics of Serbian people, and emphasising membership within the European family of nations;

Conciliation through trust building and cooperation with European Union accession process;

Raising awareness on national identity, tradition and Serbian cultural identity;

Encouraging interest among young people in Serbian history;

Promotion of family values;

Strengthening moral values in Serbia society;

Networking between young people in Serbia and their peers in the Diaspora;

Building an Internet data base of photos from the First World War;

Tuesday 22 July 2014

Adress on television: King Willem-Alexander shared national frustration over the handling of the plane desaster

King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands during his television address to the nation.
Statement by His Majesty the King after the gathering of next of kin of the air disaster victims on Monday, 21st July 2014. The video is available here.

Today a large gathering took place of families of the victims of the air disaster in eastern Ukraine. My wife and I were among those present. We were deeply touched by the moving, personal accounts of those who have lost loved ones. People whose lives are in ruins. Their sorrow, their feeling of powerlessness and their despair are heartrending. Many people said to us, 'We at least want to take dignified leave of our loved ones'.

We understand their frustration and their pain. And we share their heartfelt wish for clarity on the cause of this disaster.

We know that their loss can never be made good. Their grief is immense. The only thing we could do today was to be with them, and listen to what they had to say.

In the last few days, people have gathered together all over the Netherlands, and they will go on doing so. In offices, schools, sports clubs and living rooms across the country. People are there for one another.

And that is especially important now, at a time of great trial for our country, when so many people are overwhelmed by grief. It is important that we hold onto one another, that we support each other and do what we can to help. And that we open our hearts to anyone who wants to share their story. Not only now, but also in the months and years to come.

I would like to express my appreciation for all the people who are rallying around those affected by the disaster. Relatives, friends, neighbours and colleagues: you are all very much needed now.

I would also like to say how much I value the work being done by the hundreds of professionals involved in carrying out the many sad and difficult tasks that need to be done.

My wife and I sympathise deeply with all those who have been bereaved. We are with them in our thoughts. These sentiments are shared by my mother and by the other members of my family, who feel a particularly close bond with our country in these dark days.

Saturday 19 July 2014

The solution for Russia

Yekaterinburg, Russia, 18th July, 2014.

80,000 people gathered to commemorate the murder of the Imperial Family.

Как это было: Крестный ход в Екатеринбурге

Prince William unveiled Captain Matthew Flinders’ statute at Australia House

Prince William and Mark Richards.

The Duke of Cambridge has unveiled a statue in honour of the first man to identify Australia as a continent.

The Duke, who visited the Commonwealth of Australia with The Duchess of Cambridge and Prince George in April, said he was honoured to celebrate a man who "did far more than anyone to place Australia - quite literally - on the map".

Captain Matthew Flinders, the first person to circumnavigate Australia at the age of just 27, is a household name Down Under but little known in his native Britain.

The Duke with a table-top version of the statue of Captain Matthew Flinders.
The 6ft (1.8m) bronze memorial of the cartographer, designed by sculptor Mark Richards, was unveiled by The Duke at Australia House today.

The government of South Australia hopes to bolster Captain Flinders' profile among British people by permanently erecting the statue at Euston station in central London, the site where it is believed Captain Flinders was buried on his death at the age of 40.

The statue shows him kneeling over a map of Australia with a compass and his companion Trim, a cat, who travelled with him on his explorations.

The Duke, who said Australia is a "very dear place to me and Catherine", was presented with a table-top version of the statue, which he was initially a little hesitant to lift. He described Captain Flinders as a man of "action,strength, and determination".

Bill Murrihead, the Agent General for South Australia, said: "Knowing that The Duke of Cambridge is so fond of Australia, we were delighted to have him here today to honour Matthew Flinders, a young, inspirational man like himself. I talked with him about his recent trip to Australia. He is very pro-all things Australian so we feel he is one of us."

He added that Captain Flinders was a "remarkable man who accomplished a huge deal" and deserved to be recognised in his homeland as he is in Australia.

At the beginning of his speech Prince William paid respect to the victime's of the Malaysian Airlines flight MH 17.

A speech by HRH The Duke of Cambridge at Australia House

High Commissioner, Agent General, distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for your very warm welcome.

I know that I speak for all of us here when I acknowledge our deep sadness following yesterday's disaster in the Ukraine. For all of us who have lost fellow countrymen and women in the tragedy, words cannot do justice to our sense of loss. For Australians, and for our Malaysian brothers and sisters in the Commonwealth, the crash is a particularly cruel tragedy coming so soon after the loss of MH370. Please be assured of my family's thoughts and prayers at this time.

Earlier this year, you will know that Catherine and I had the great pleasure of spending time, with George, in Australia. In South Australia, we visited an organisation that will long live in our memory called the Northern Sound System. There, we met young people – some from very difficult backgrounds – who were turning their lives around through the power of music. The place was Australia at its very best: young, innovative, caring, cool … it was a truly uplifting place. Australia is a very dear country to me and Catherine, and so I am particularly honoured to have been invited today to celebrate a man who did far more than anyone to place Australia – quite literally – on the map. I am aware that this statue, and its eventual placement at Euston station, involved a lot of hard work by a committed group of supporters, but there are some who deserve a particular mention.

First, I should like to congratulate the sculptor, Mark Richards, for producing a beautiful statue and for telling the story of Captain Flinders with such elegance.

I should also like to acknowledge and thank the many people and organisations who have contributed financially to the project. Although backed by the Government of South Australia, this has been a privately funded initiative.

Finally, I should like to congratulate the Steering Committee for achieving so much. You have truly honoured the memory of Captain Flinders in London.

In closing, I would like to make two brief observations about the figure…I should say figures….not to forget Trim the cat, who apprently isn't bolted down.

First, I appreciate the way this work communicates Captain Flinders as a man of action, strength and determination.

Second, I very much appreciate the sensitivity of the inscription around the base of the statue.

Some of you may know that Matthew Flinders had an indigenous Australian on board HM Sloop Investigator…an indigenous Australian with whom he clearly had a close rapport. His name was Bungaree, a person Flinders described as “worthy and brave”. "Worthy and brave" is a description that is just as apt for Captain Flinders himself.

Thank you for inviting me to commemorate this great man with you all.

Thank you.

Saturday 28 June 2014

King Felipe VI reaches out to Catalonia

His Majesty shakes hands with the President of the Generalitat de Cataluña, Artur Mas (local leader of the separatist party which forms a minority government in Catalonia).
The autonomous region Catalonia was the destination for King Felipe VI’s first domestic trip as the country's new Monarch. At an award ceremony for young entrepreneurs in Girona on 26th June, the newly proclaimed King sent out a conciliatory message to the Catalans.
"Sincere and generous collaboration is the best way to fulfil the legitimate aspirations of each person and achieve great collective goals for the common good. Just hours before his visit, the Catalan regional assembly approved a motion calling for a popular referendum on the monarchy. The same parties behind the motion also called a protest against the king’s presence in the city. Around 500 people turned out for the demonstration As the crown prince, and from now on as the king, I have used these visits to make the Crown even more present in this land, and to convey a message of respect, mutual understanding and coexistence, which as I said in my proclamation address, are inherent values of our parliamentary democracy,” he said, speaking in Catalan.
His message of reconcilliation did not find open ears among a majority of the region's assembly. Just hours before his visit, the Catalan regional assembly approved a motion calling for a popular referendum on the monarchy. 81 voted in favour, 26 against and 18 abstained. The same parties behind the motion - the Catalan secessionist part CiU, the republican left ERC and smaller marxist parties - also called a protest against the King’s presence in the city. Around 500 people turned out for the demonstration.

Among the nasty comments below an English language report on the day's events was this remarkable comment:
I have been victim of the catalonian nationalists, they have discriminate me because I do not share their tought. I am not the only one that have suffered their intolerance, the catalonian nationalists behave like nazis, they can not cope with persons that not share their ideas. The truth that is happening in Catalonia is very different from the catalonian nationalists´version, they have done a business with the victimism. The catalonian nationalists behave like nazis, they can not cope with persons that not share their ideas. The idea of a referendum in Catalonia it is not healthy because in Catalonia there is no democracy, you need informed citizens and the truth is that in Catalonia since the nationalists run the education system they have created many generations of zombies that only stand for their fascists ideas. In Catalonia there is not education, there is indoctrination in the hatred of the nationalists.

Portuguese celebrates its 800th anniversary

Outside Portugal this anniversary is hardly noticed. The first document in the Portuguese language was signed on 27th June 1214 by King Afonso II - it was his testament.

Afonso became King of Portugal in 1212, succeeding his father King Sancho I. Born on 23rd April 1185 King Afonso did not pursue territory enlargement policies of his father and grandfather, the first King of Portugal of the Burgundy dynasty that established the country's independence, managed to ensure peace with Castile during his reign. 

The first official use of Portuguese: The Testament of King Afonso II.
The transcript of this important European document is available here.

In the last decade of the thirteenth century, King Dinis The Farmer - (1279–1325) legalised Portuguese as the official language of the Kingdom of Portugal, following the example of his grandfather, King Alfonso X of Castile and Leon, who established Castilian as the official language of his kingdom during his reign, which started in 1252.

Although the Portuguese was only formalised this in Dom Dinis, as of 1255, the chancery of King Afonso III of Portugal, the Portuguese used it alongside the Latin in official documents.

A report (in Portuguese, of course) can be watched on RTP's website: Língua portuguesa é usada em documentos oficiais desde há oito séculos.

PS. Accidentally (or intentionally?) the two sons of the heir to the Portuguese throne, HRH Dom Duarte Pio, Duke of Bragança, bear the names of the two important champions of the Portuguese language: Dom Afonso de Santa Maria, Prince of Beira, Duke of Barcelo and Infante Dinis, Duke of Porto.

Royal Finances and Royal Duties

This week the annual Sovereign Grant report - the report on the Monarchy's public finances in the last year - was published. For details see Royal Family cost each taxpayer 56p last year.

Regularly the anti-monarchist splinter group Republic, run by Graham Smith, occasionally a Fairfax columnist, was quoted by The New York Times:
“They cost much more than they say, and they don’t actually do anything,” said Graham Smith, one of the activists, as he stared up at the palace walls. “People keep pushing for more from the royals, but they give it only grudgingly. We ought to be a republic.”
The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall published their annual review in an impressive graphic:

Activities of The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall in 2013/2014

The Prince of Wales funds himself, his wife, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry’s activities as royals from the Duchy of Cornwall. Prince Charles, however, incurred £1m travel costs in the last year due to an increased number of engagements performed representing the UK and The Queen overseas.

Thursday 19 June 2014

Proclamation of the new King of Spain: A Royal Day in Madrid

¡Viva el rey Felipe!

Oath on the Constitution

Speech by H.M. the King at his Proclamation before the Senate and the Congress of Deputies

Madrid, 19th June 2014

I appear today before Parliament to take the oath provided for in our Constitution and to be proclaimed King of Spain. Having fulfilled this constitutional duty, I wish to convey the Crown’s appreciation and respect for the Senate and the Congress of Deputies, in which national sovereignty is deposited, and here, on this day, to address the Honourable Members and all the people of Spain.

I begin my reign with profound emotion at the honour of accepting the Crown, aware of the responsibility it entails and with the greatest hope for the future of Spain.

It is a nation forged over centuries of history by the shared endeavours of millions of people from all corners of our country and without whose participation the course of Humanity cannot be properly understood.

A great nation, Honourable Members, in which I believe and which I love and admire; a nation whose destiny has been bound to my own for all of my life, as Crown Prince and, from today, as King of Spain.

Before the Honourable Members and before all the people of Spain – and in this respect, too, with profound emotion – I wish to pay a tribute of gratitude to and respect for my father, King Juan Carlos I. From today, an exceptional reign becomes part of our history, one that has left an extraordinary political legacy. Almost 40 years ago, from this same rostrum, my father stated that he intended to be King for all the Spanish people. And this he has been. He invoked the values defended by my grandfather, the Count of Barcelona, and called for a great project of national consensus, one that gave rise to the best years of our modern history.

Today we render to the person of King Juan Carlos the appreciation he deserves, from a generation of citizens who paved the way for democracy, for understanding among Spaniards and for their coexistence in a climate of freedom. That generation, under his leadership and with the very prominent contribution of the Spanish people, laid the foundations of a political construct that overcame apparently insurmountable differences, achieved reconciliation among Spaniards, acknowledged the plural nature of Spain and restored our nation to its place in the world.

Honourable Members, let me also thank my mother, Queen Sofía, for her impeccable, lifetime’s work on behalf of the Spanish people. Her dedication and loyalty to King Juan Carlos, her dignity and her sense of responsibility are exemplary and merit the heartfelt tribute of gratitude that, as her son and as King, I extend to her today. Together, for over 50 years, King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofía have devoted themselves to Spain. I trust that for many more years we shall continue to enjoy their support, their experience and their affection.

Throughout my life – as Prince of Asturias, Prince of Girona and Prince of Viana – my loyalty to the Constitution has been unswerving and irrevocable, as has, and will continue to be, my commitment to the values on which our democratic society rests. From my earliest childhood, I was brought up in these beliefs, by my family and my teachers. For this, I am deeply indebted to them all and I am thankful, now and always. The Queen and I shall educate our daughters, the Princess of Asturias and Infanta Sofía, in those same values of freedom, responsibility, solidarity and tolerance.

Honourable Deputies and Senators,

Today I can affirm before this Chamber – and I welcome the opportunity – that the reign of a constitutional King has begun.

A King taking possession of the highest office of the State, in accordance with a Constitution that was ratified by the Spanish people and which has been our supreme law for over 35 years.

A King who must adhere to the exercise of the functions entrusted to him by the Constitution and who, therefore, symbolises the unity and permanence of the State, undertaking its highest representation and arbitrating and assuring the normal functioning of the institutions.

In short, a King who must also respect the principle of separation of powers and, therefore, abide by the laws passed by Parliament and collaborate with the Government of Spain – which is responsible for determining the direction of national policies – and respect at all times the independence of the judiciary.

Have no doubt, Honourable Members, I shall honour the oath I have just taken; in discharging my responsibilities, I shall be a Head of State who is loyal and willing to listen; ready to understand, to warn and to advise; and always vigilant to defend the general interest.

Let me add, that in performing this act of such historical significance, but which is also of constitutional normality, it is my personal conviction that the Parliamentary Monarchy can and should continue to render a vital service to Spain.

The independence of the Crown, its political neutrality and its wish to embrace and reconcile the different ideological standpoints enable it to contribute to the stability of our political system, facilitating a balance with the other constitutional and territorial bodies, promoting the orderly functioning of the State and providing a channel for cohesion among Spaniards. These political values are essential for our coexistence, and for the organisation and development of our life in common.

But the demands made of the Crown are not limited to the necessary compliance with its constitutional functions. I have always been aware that the Parliamentary Monarchy must be open to and engaged with the society it serves; it must be a faithful and loyal interpreter of citizens’ aspirations and hopes, and must share – and feel as its own – their successes and their failures.

The Crown must remain close to the citizens, acquiring and maintaining their appreciation, their respect and their trust; to do so, the Crown must safeguard the dignity of the institution, maintain its prestige and conduct itself straightforwardly, honestly and transparently, in accordance with its institutional role and its social responsibility. Because only thus will it possess the necessary moral authority for the exercise of its functions. Today, more than ever, and quite rightly, citizens are calling for moral and ethical principles to inspire our public life and for behaviour to be exemplary in this respect. And the King, as Head of State, must not only lead but also be at the service of this just and legitimate demand made by the citizens.

Honourable Members, these are my convictions about the Crown, which from today I shall embody: a renewed Monarchy for new times. And I undertake my task with energy, with enthusiasm and with the open and innovative spirit that has inspired the men and women of my generation.

Honourable Deputies and Senators,

Today, if we were to look to the past, I hope it would be not with nostalgia, but with great respect for our history; with the will to overcome whatever may have separated or divided us; and thus remember and appreciate everything that unites and gives us strength and solidity for the future.

In this remembrance, too, we should always hold dear and recall, with immense respect, all those who as victims of terrorist violence lost their lives or suffered in the defence of our freedom. They will remain in our memories and in our hearts. And the victory of the rule of law, together with our warmest affection, will be the best acknowledgement of the dignity they deserve.

Turning to address our present situation, Honourable Members, let me also express my sympathy and solidarity with all those who have suffered the harsh impact of the economic crisis, and whose very dignity as persons has been affronted. It is our moral duty to do all in our power to reverse this situation, and our public duty to offer protection to the most vulnerable individuals and families. Moreover, it is our obligation to transmit a message of hope, especially to the young, that solving their problems and, in particular, enabling them to find jobs is a matter of priority for society and the State. I know all of the Honourable Members share these concerns and these goals.

But, above all, Honourable Members, today I should like us to look forward, to the future; toward the renewed Spain that, in unison, we must continue to build, from the beginning of this new reign.

Over the recent years, and not without difficulties, we have lived together in a democracy, having finally overcome past eras of tragedy, silence and darkness. Preserving the principles and ideals on which this coexistence is based, and to which I referred earlier, is not only an act of justice to the generations that have preceded us, but a source of inspiration and example at all times in our public life. And assuring the continued coexistence, in peace and freedom, of the Spanish people is and always will be an inescapable responsibility of all public authorities.

The men and women of my generation are heirs to that great collective success which has been admired worldwide and of which we are so proud. It is now up to us to pass it on to the coming generations.

But we also owe the duty to them, and to ourselves, to enhance that valuable legacy and to enrich the collective heritage of freedoms and rights that took such hard work to acquire. Because every political time has its own challenges; and because all political projects – like all human projects – inevitably remain unfinished.

Honourable Members, the Spanish people, and especially the men and women of my generation, wish to revitalise our institutions. In our actions, we seek to reaffirm the supremacy of the public interest and to strengthen our democratic culture.

We wish to see a Spain in which the political forces can come to agreement on the issues and at the times when this is called for by the public interest.

Our aim is that citizens and their concerns should be at the focus of political action because, with their efforts, their work and their sacrifice, it is they who drive our State forward and give meaning to the institutions of which it is comprised.

We hope for a Spain in which citizens regain and retain confidence in their institutions, and for a society based on civic values, tolerance, honesty and rigour, one that is open minded and constructive and acts in a spirit of solidarity.

And we hope, finally, for a Spain in which the ties of understanding are never broken, for this is one of the guiding principles of our constitutional spirit.

In this setting of hope, I wish to reaffirm, as King, my faith in the unity of Spain, symbolised by the Crown. Unity does not mean uniformity, Honourable Members. In 1978, the Constitution recognised our diversity as a defining characteristic of our very identity, in proclaiming the intention to protect all the people of Spain, their cultures and traditions, their languages and institutions. This diversity stems from our history, exalting us and giving strength.

Historically, Spain has been home to diverse traditions and cultures, which have enriched all its peoples throughout the ages. And that assembly, the relationship among cultures and traditions, is most clearly expressed in the concert of languages. Together with Castilian, the official language of the State, the other languages of Spain form a common heritage that, under our Constitution, must be given special respect and protection; this is so because languages are the natural channels for accessing the knowledge of peoples, and at the same time they represent bridges for dialogue among all Spaniards, a view held and defended by landmark writers including Antonio Machado, Espriu, Aresti and Castelao.

In such a Spain, united and diverse, based on the equality of all Spaniards, on solidarity among its peoples and on respect for the law, there is room for us all; for all our feelings and views, for all the different ways of being Spanish. Because feelings, and all the more so in these times of European integration, should never confront, divide or exclude, but should promote understanding and respect, coexistence and sharing.

And we must revitalise this coexistence every day, through the individual and collective exercise of mutual respect and appreciation of each other’s achievements. We must do so with sincere affection, with friendship and bonds of brotherhood and fraternity, which are essential to nourish our collective dreams and ambitions.

Honourable Members, let us all work together, each with their own personality, enriching the whole; let us do so with loyalty, to achieve the new goals before us all in the twenty-first century. Because a nation is not only its history, it is an all-encompassing project, one that is felt and shared by all, one that looks to the future.

A new century, Honourable Members, one that arrived under the sign of change and transformation and in which we live a reality that is quite distinct from that of the twentieth century.

As we are all aware, profound changes are taking place in our lives, bearing us away from traditional ways of seeing the world and our place within it. And while this may provoke disquiet, uncertainty or fear, it also opens up new opportunities for progress.

If we are to rise to the occasion and meet the new challenges to our coexistence, we must all play a part: the public authorities must give the lead and define our great national objectives; but society, too, must provide enthusiasm, convictions and active participation. This task calls for a profound change in the mentalities and attitudes of many people and, of course, great determination and courage, vision and responsibility.

History has shown us that all the great advances have taken place in Spain when we have evolved and adapted to the reality of our times; when we have rejected acquiescence or resignation and when we have raised our sights, to look beyond – and above – ourselves; when we have reached a fresh, shared understanding of our common interests and goals.

Honourable Members, the wellbeing of the men and women of our society requires us to position Spain in the twenty-first century, in the rapidly-emerging new world; in the century of knowledge, culture and education.

We now face the great challenge of promoting new technologies, science and research, which are the real energisers of wealth today; the challenge is to promote and encourage innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship, as essential attitudes for development and growth. In my view, these are all vital to the progress and modernisation of Spain, and I have no doubt they will help us win the battle to create new employment, which is the major concern among Spanish people today.

The twenty-first century, which is also the century of the environment, must be one in which humanistic and ethical values – which we must recover and maintain – are exercised, to help eliminate discrimination, secure the role of women and further promote peace and international cooperation.

Honourable Members, at this point I wish to consider the question of international relations, in which Spain occupies a privileged position due to its place in the geography and the history of the world.

Europe used to be an ideal to which Spain aspired. Today, Spain is part of Europe and it is our obligation to help build a strong, united, selfless Europe, in which social cohesion is preserved, which confidently asserts its position in the world and which consolidates its leadership in the democratic values we all share. Doing so is in our own interest, because it will strengthen us, too. Europe is not a foreign policy issue, it is one of the major projects for the Kingdom of Spain itself, for the State and for society.

We are united with the countries of Ibero-America by history and by close ties of affection and brotherhood. In recent decades, we have also shared increasingly strong economic interests and converging views on global questions. But above all, we are united by our shared language and culture, which form an asset of immense value that we must cultivate with resolve and generosity.

And finally, our ancient ties of culture and shared viewpoints with the Mediterranean region, the Middle East and Arab countries offer us the capability to engage in privileged dialogue, based on respect and willingness to cooperate in areas of mutual and international interest, in a region that is of such strategic, political and economic importance.

In an ever-more globalised world, in which new stakeholders are emerging, together with new risks and challenges, the only attitude possible is to adopt an increasingly resolute stance, actively defending the rights of our citizens and promoting our interests, seeking greater participation and influence in the major issues on the global agenda, and doing so with particular reference to the framework of the United Nations.

Honourable Deputies and Senators,

King Felipe VI adressing the nation.
In my remarks today, I have sought to fulfil the duty I feel to convey to you and to the Spanish people, sincerely and honestly, my feelings, convictions and commitments regarding the Spain with which I identify, which I love and to which I aspire; and also regarding the Parliamentary Monarchy in which I believe: as I said before and as I wish to repeat now, my belief in a renewed monarchy for new times.

To conclude my message, I wish to thank the Spanish people for the support and affection I have received on so many occasions. My belief in our future is based on my faith in Spanish society; it is mature and vigorous, responsible and caring, a society that is showing great fortitude and one that has a laudable spirit to prevail over its difficulties.

Honourable Members, we have a great country; we are a great nation, let us believe and trust in her.

Cervantes, speaking through Don Quixote, said, “One man is no more than another if he does no more than another.”

I am proud of the Spanish people and nothing would honour me more than if, through my work and my effort, day by day, I could make the people of Spain proud of their new King.

Thank you very much.

Add caption

King Felipe, Queen Letizia, Princess Leonor, Infanta Sofía greeted Spaniards from the balcony of the Royal Palace

Tens of thousands of Spaniards welcomed King Felipe VI