Friday, 20 June 2014

¡Nuevo Rey de España!

Spain's new King salutes his people, accompanied by new his new
royal consort Queen Letzia.
Yesterday, Felipe, Prince of Asturias was sworn in as King of Spain in the country's parliament, becoming King Felipe VI and receiving from his father King Juan Carlos the royal sash of a captain-general, the highest rank in the Spanish army, since 1999 reserved for the reigning King of Spain- the Commander-in-Chief of the Spanish Armed Forces. The ceremony was a low budget affair, with the King sensibly opting not to go for an opulent celebration at a time when Spain's economic troubles continue to be a headache. His Catholic Majesty was welcomed by his people with great flair; they turned out in droves, flags waving, to cheer the new King and shout out ¡Viva el Rey! In accordance with Spanish tradition, there was no coronation ceremony, but the royal crown was on display at the inauguration.

In his first speech as King of Spain, Felipe VI addressed the growth of Basque and Catalonian separatist movements, saying, "We all fit in a diverse Spain." His Catholic Majesty went on, "This relationship between cultures and traditions has its best expression in our languages. Alongside Castellano, the other languages of Spain form part of our common heritage, which, as the constitute establishes, should be something worthy of special respect and protection." The King also addressed his country's economic woes, offering "solidarity to citizens who have suffered the blows of the crisis in recent years." Speaking of the monarchy itself, he said: "my personal conviction is that parliamentary monarchy can and should continue to provide a fundamental service to Spain." I should hope so, sire; there is nothing worse for a royalist than being "plus royaliste que le roi."

There was some effort on the part of republicans to ruin the festivities, but the police (quite rightly) took a hardline approach to suppressing protests on what should have been a day of nation celebration- and for the most part, was. Unfortunately, polls suggest that not everyone was proud to be a Spaniard yesterday; a poll indicated that a clear majority of Spaniards aged 18-34 want to see Spain’s constitutional monarchy abolished in favour of a republic. However, older Spaniards remain overwhelmingly pro-monarchy, probably because they remember what life was like before King Juan Carlos brought freedom to his kingdom and ended the Francoist dictatorship. The young, ever foolish, naïve, ill-informed and short-sighted, do not remember what life under a republic was like. They glaze over the horrific crimes of the Spanish Second Republic, remembering only the propaganda about "equality," "liberty" and "freedom". But only under the sheltering wing of constitutional monarchy has some degree of freedom and democracy survived and prospered in Spain.

Spaniards celebrate their new King
For my part, though not a Spanish subject, I was proudly displaying the Spanish flag (the real* Spanish flag, not that Republican abomination with the purple stripe) from my window yesterday, though anyone who saw it likely thinks I was supporting Spain in the world cup. As monarchists, we must do our bit to forward the cause, and the best way to do this is to proudly display our allegiance to all surviving monarchies, the world over. If we are fortunate, it might spark a discussion with a curious friend, co-worker or neighbour, and the seeds of monarchism might be planted- and by that, I mean real monarchism, not just reading about the Duchess of Cambridge in Hello! magazine but actively campaigning to raise awareness of monarchy's vital political, cultural and societal role. For every foreign republican egging on Spain's republicans in the comments section of The Guardian or any other Leftist, anti-royalist site, we must have a monarchist praising the House of Bourbon and urging Spaniards not to abandon their heritage. To the people of Spain, I say to you; ¡Viva España!  ¡Viva el Rey! ¡Por Dios, Patria y Rey!**

*by happy coincidence, "real" is "royal" in Spanish. Get real, Spaniards!
**and sorry if I accidentally butcher your language. I'm a Briton, we're not good at foreign languages.

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