Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Raining on Felipe's Parade

The King and Queen of Spain with the Princess of Asturias and the Infanta Sofia on their National Day 2016
(photo casareal Twitter)

It's not been the best year for Spain's Royal Family and one of the clouds which has loomed large on its horizon throughout 2016, the trial of the Infanta Cristina, will come to an end within days. That wasn't the only shadow hanging over King Felipe as he led events marking Spain's National Day in Madrid. For this big moment was deluged by rain and the traditional military parade took place under leaden skies and relentless drizzle.

Felipe was accompanied by his wife, Letizia, and their two daughters, Leonor and Sofia, at this landmark event in Spain's royal year. The family arrived in central Madrid in the late morning and were greeted by, among others, the country's acting Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy. It was a reminder of another difficulty for King Felipe right now - Mariano Rajoy has until the end of the month to try and form an administration or Spain will face a third general election in less than twelve months with the monarch involved in mediating talks between parties.

Today was all about the ceremonial and the traditional and the chance to put on a good show. After King Felipe reviewed the troops, he and his family stood for the National Anthem before making their way beneath umbrellas to the central stand where they took their seats beneath a canopy and watched the traditional parade.

Princess Leonor, who turns eleven at the end of the month, and her nine year old sister, Infanta Sofia, have accompanied their parents to this central event in the royal calendar every year since their father took the throne in 2014. This year was no different with the girls sitting quietly through the event next to Queen Letizia.

The parade involved all parts of the military and the Civil Guard and included a fly past although this was limited by the weather.

Central to this event is the respect shown to the country's flag and a commemoration of all those who have given their lives for Spain. This solemn moment is a big part of a day that often draws big crowds to the Spanish capital.

Once the parade was over, King Felipe and Queen Letizia hosted a reception at the Royal Palace in Madrid in honour of Spain's National Day. The weather stayed wet outside on a day and the grey clouds haven't quite blown away yet for Spain's Royal Family.

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