The King and Queen of Spain and their daughters leave the Cortes on November 17th 2016
(photo casareal Twitter)
The King of Spain has officially opened the new session of his country's parliament after almost a year of political uncertainty and at his side was his heir, Princess Leonor, and her sister, Infanta Sofia. After a difficult 2016 for Spain's politicians and its Royal Family, this was a day of new beginnings. And it all started with a debut for Leonor and Sofia.
This is the first time that the eleven year old Princess of Asturias, first in line to the Spanish throne, and her nine year old sister, second in line, have attended the solemn opening of the new parliamentary session.
Leonor and Sofia had about as good an excuse as possible for missing a few hours of school as they joined dad, Felipe, and mum, Letizia, at the Cortes for the official opening which only became a possibility at the end of October when Spain's politicians voted to allow the Popular Party, led by Mariano Rajoy, to form a minority administration,
Today, Rajoy was on hand to greet the King and Queen of Spain at the Cortes at the start of his second term as Prime Minister.
Before entering the building, King Felipe carried out a review of troop before the royal party entered through the Door of the Lions which is only open for big events like this.
King Felipe gave a speech during the opening in which he spoke of the recent difficulties encountered by politicians and by Spain and then told his audience that those problems had been overcome and that they would continue to be beaten. And he said that he was convinced that the Spanish people wanted to open a new, prosperous phase in their history.
Outside the Cortes once more, Felipe and his family watched a military parade before heading home at the end of a day that was all about new beginnings. Spain's politicians could finally get down to business after months of stop and start and that means the agenda of the country's royal family can now follow its own path after almost a year of alterations caused by ongoing discussions during attempts to form administrations. And a queen in waiting and her sister stepped into their country's parliament to see it opened for the first time. This was a big debut for Leonor and for Sofia of Spain.