Thursday, 10 April 2014

Spring for King Juan Carlos

After several months of sticking inside the Zarzuela Palace, King Juan Carlos is expanding his agenda. As spring arrives in Spain so a new lease of life has started flowing through the king's royal rota.  Juan Carlos underwent two operations in the last part of 2013 and has been seen with crutches many times since as he continues to recover.  But now it seems that his recuperation is complete as he announces new, overseas visits and has been seen for the first time since September taking part in the full ceremonial welcome for new ambassadors in Spain.  Spring is sprung.

King Juan Carlos of Spain receives the letters of credentials of the new ambassador from Thailand, Busay Mathelin, in a ceremony at the Royal Palace in Madrid

For the last few months, King Juan Carlos has been holding a kind of speed dating version for ambassadors presenting their letters of credentials.  Groups have been welcomed by the monarch at the Zarzuela Palace where they have sat in a semi circle around the king while he has a chat with them and there's a group hand over of letters.  But on April 9th, the full ceremonial was resumed at the Royal Palace in Madrid with the king in uniform, the carriages at the ready and individual audiences for each ambassador with all the pomp and majesty that usually attends the event.

King Juan Carlos with the new ambassador to Spain from the Czech Republic, Katerina Lukesova, following the presentation of the letters of credentials at the Royal Palace on April 9th 2014

The new ambassadors of Thailand, Oman, the Czech Republic, Indonesia, Malaysia and Morocco were all greeted and the king spent time with them after the formal ceremony chatting one on one.  The ceremonies came not long after it was announced that King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia will travel to Rome on April 26th to take part the next day in the Mass in which Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII will be canonised.  On April 28th 2014, the king and queen will have an audience with Pope Francis I in the Vatican.

Pope Francis I will meet King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain at the Vatican on April 28th 2014

And this weekend, King Juan Carlos will head to the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait on what will be the first of four trips in the next few months to countries in the region - all will be mainly centred around engagements with an economic theme.  After several months of recuperation, the long winter of Juan Carlos has come to an end and, in his agenda at least, spring is here.

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