The Spanish king’s traditional Christmas Eve message addressed the need for the Spanish Royal Family to be an example of moral integrity. He also highlighted the effects of the pandemic and the ongoing struggle for the people of La Palma.
King Felipe’s Christmas Eve message to the Spanish nation addressed a number of pressing issues for the country. Among them was a comment widely thought to reference his father’s ongoing scandals and self-imposed exile.
The king started his 14-minute Christmas Eve message with thoughts for the people of La Palma severely affected by the volcanic eruption. Many have seen their homes and livelihoods destroyed.
“Our hearts and our thoughts continue to be with you. We feel very close,” he said.
“Example of public and moral integrity”
Filmed in front of a Christmas tree in his office at Zarzuela Palace, the king reaffirmed his pledge to be “an example of public and moral integrity”.
Many commentators took this as a reference to his father’s shadow which still falls upon the palace. Juan Carlos I is in self-imposed exile in Abu Dhabi, but the scandals over his financial and love affairs are still in the Spanish news.
“We must be in the place that constitutionally corresponds to us; and assume, each one of us, the obligations that we have been entrusted with; respect and comply with the laws and be an example of public and moral integrity.”
He further stressed, “We must always bear in mind the interests of the general public, bear in mind their concerns, be permanently at their service and attend to their needs.”
King Felipe also called for “understanding” and “collaboration” between the political parties in Spain. It is they, he said, that “dignify” and “strengthen” the institutions and generate “the trust of the public”.
The monarch also said differences of opinion “should not prevent a consensus that guarantees greater stability, greater well-being in homes and give families the necessary peace of mind about their future.”
Dealing with the pandemic
The king praised the way the country had successfully implemented the vaccination programme. Felipe did not shy from mentioning the negative social and economic consequences of the pandemic. He expressed concern at the number of people in “a situation of vulnerability” due to precarious or lack of employment and rising electricity prices.
However, he also offered a message of hope and encouragement that Spain would consolidate its recovery phase out of the pandemic.
“We have made substantial progress,” he said. However, he warned against complacency as “the risk has not yet disappeared.”
Praising the health workers and those on the front line, the king also remembered those who had fallen victim to the virus.