The National Day of Spain

The National Day of Spain

October 12 Hispanic Day parade

The Kings and the Princess of Asturias preside over the commemorative events of the National Holiday Day in the Plaza de Neptuno, in Madrid, a new location for the authorities' tribune and with a new route along which more than 4,000 soldiers will parade. In addition, Leonor de Borbón, currently immersed in her military training as a lady cadet, will attend in uniform after two years of absence due to her studies in Wales. The Princess will attend dressed in the Army's gala uniform. For the first time, in addition, she will also be present at the subsequent reception. However, unlike her father, who did get to parade while he was undergoing his military training, it is not expected that Princess Leonor will participate in the parade on this occasion.

In the gallery, the Kings will be accompanied by Pedro Sánchez, President of the Government. Along with them, there will be the presidents of the Congress and the Senate, the socialist Francina Armengol and the 'popular' Pedro Rollán, respectively; in addition to acting ministers, such as that of Defense, Margarita Robles, or that of Labor and second vice president, Yolanda Díaz.

In addition, other national, regional and local authorities will attend, including several regional presidents, such as that of Andalusia, Juanma Moreno; that of the Balearic Islands, Marga Prohens; that of the Canary Islands, Fernando Clavijo; and that of Asturias, Adrián Barbón, among others. The Lehendakari, Iñigo Urkullu, on an official trip to Japan, will not attend, and neither is the Catalan president, Pere Aragonès, expected to attend.

Members of the Legion, during the October 12 parade

The National Festival, scene of the debut of the Princess of Asturias

Wearing the Army cadet lady's gala uniform — white shirt and tie, gold sash and red beret, the Princess of Asturias has been the image of this year's National Holiday. Before the pandemic and before she left to study the international baccalaureate at a boarding school in Wales, she was seen on the platform of this parade with her sister Sofia behind her parents. But this time it was different. Less than three weeks before he comes of age and swears in the Constitution in a solemn session of the Cortes Generales, the King took advantage of the celebration of October 12 to present his future heir to Spanish society.

Before beginning the military ceremony, in the Plaza de Neptuno, the Princess of Asturias, along with the Kings and the acting President of the Government, greeted the main authorities of the State, who were waiting at the foot of the tribune. Then, she accompanied her father to place the laurel wreath in the emotional offering to the fallen. During the military parade, she remained to the right of Felipe VI, wearing the uniform of a captain general of the Air and Space Army, who from time to time commented in her ear about some aspect of the parade; and she stood up every time he did to greet the troops, while Queen Letizia remained seated, given her civilian status.

After the parade, in the Throne Room of the Royal Palace, the Princess of Asturias made her debut alongside the Kings in the traditional hand-kissing: the formal procession of the more than 2,000 guests in line, not only senior officials but also, in theory, a representative sample of Spanish society as a whole. One by one—with a genuflection, a bow of the head, or a simple handshake—they stopped before their hosts to greet them. Some, ignorant of the news, passed by without greeting Leonor de Borbón; while Queen Letizia introduced others by her name to her daughter. The ritual is so long that, on several occasions, it was interrupted so that the Kings could momentarily leave the Hall and, at those moments, Felipe VI was seen, already in a suit, paternally taking his daughter, still in uniform, from behind. but with the head uncovered and the hair tied up in a bun as provided by military etiquette.

The kings stopped especially at some of the greetings, such as those carried out by Miguel Herrero de Miñón, one of the fathers of the Constitution that the Princess of Asturias will swear in on the 31st; the singer Luz Casal or the Israeli ambassador to Spain, Rodica Gardian-Gordon. But the one that Leonor de Borbón liked the most, judging by the smiles of her entire family, was that of a group of her fellow students, dressed like her in uniform. At the reception, the first-born of the Kings said she was “very happy,” having begun a three-year military training on August 17 that she must combine with the increasingly demanding obligations of her role as heir: the next appointment will be October 20, at the Princess of Asturias awards ceremony.

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