CALDES DE MALAVELLA – The Spanish crown princess is looking forward to starting her military training. She made this known on Wednesday during the presentation of the Princesa de Girona Foundation prizes in Girona.
King Felipe VI celebrated on Wednesday that the Princess of Girona Foundation was able to return to the Girona region despite the “difficulties”. After five years of absence, the awards ceremony of this organisation, chaired by Princess Leonor, took place in Caldes de Malavella, in the province of Girona.
Royal family still not welcome in Girona
However, this did not happen in the capital, where the Royal Family is still not welcome since Felipe VI was declared persona non grata. No institution, municipality, province or government provides a venue for this annual event, which recognises the achievements of young people in science, art or business.
In 2018 the event took place in Barcelona, but this year it was organised in Caldes de Malavella (Girona). The ceremony took place in a private hotel. The King and Queen and their daughters Leonor and Sofia were in attendance. “The ceremony of the Princess of Girona awards is indeed a celebration, a cause for celebration,” said the head of state. “We celebrate being able to do it from Girona this year,” he repeated.
Also present were the President of the Catalan Parliament, Meritxell Batet, the Minister of Transport, Raquel Sánchez, and the opposition leader in Catalonia, Salvador Illa. The Catalan government was conspicuous by its absence.
Felipe VI, in his speech, emphasised “stability” as “guarantee for the future”. The king and queen arrived in Girona on the day that European justice revoked the parliamentary immunity of Carles Puigdemont, the former president of Catalonia.
Girona has been barring the Royal House since 2017, after the speech of the head of state on October 3, 2017. The pro-independence camp had called for a boycott of the event but failed to do so. The subsequent demonstration by nationalist Catalans only gathered about 500 demonstrators. In their attempt to reach the hotel, they were stopped by an extensive police force. Among the demonstrators were the leaders of ERC, Junts and CUP for Girona.
“Important moment in my life”
The almost 18-year-old Princess Leonor, in turn, reiterated that she is happy to be in Girona and stated that she is looking forward to starting her new phase of military training after graduating from high school. “Apart from my responsibility, I am happy because I know how much the Spaniards value our armed forces. It is a very important moment in my life and I look forward to it with great enthusiasm,” she assured.
Commander in Chief of Spanish Armed Forces
Because Princess Leonor is the first in line to the throne, she will one day be the Supreme Commander of the Spanish Armed Forces. To prepare for this task, three-year military training is required. “After completing secondary education, it is necessary to think about the next formative phase of the princess, taking into account her responsibilities, first as heiress to the crown and later as the future queen of Spain,” the palace said in a statement.
The Royal Family added: “The King, together with the Queen, believes that the military training of the Princess of Asturias is very useful and valuable: it strengthens the capacities for service and devotion and facilitates the representative duties that she will take on.”
The Princess of Asturias begins her education at the military academy of the army in Zaragoza. Her second year will be at the Naval Military School of Marín, and aboard the Juan Sebastián de Elcano Training Ship, and then her third year will be at the Air Force Academy.