Princess Leonor of Spain Celebrates 18th Birthday and Swears Allegiance to Constitution
Madrid – Princess Leonor of Spain officially became a legal adult and swore her allegiance to the country’s constitution on her 18th birthday. The historic ceremony, held in parliament, marked her official coming of age and positioned her as the direct successor to the throne after her father, King Felipe VI.
Princess Leonor, who received her education in Wales and commenced military training in Spain in August, took the opportunity to pledge her dedication to upholding the law, respecting citizens’ rights, and remaining loyal to the king. The event was attended by most cabinet ministers and regional leaders, symbolizing the significance of the occasion.
Nevertheless, some ministers from the left-wing coalition partner, Unidas Podemos, decided to boycott the ceremony. Their absence was primarily motivated by a belief that an unelected hereditary head of state is undemocratic. Additionally, lawmakers advocating for Catalan, Basque, and Galician independence chose to abstain from the proceedings.
Public opinion regarding the monarchy has been a topic of debate in recent years. A poll conducted in 2022 indicated that 51.6% of Spaniards supported the country becoming a republic, while 34.6% favored maintaining the monarchy. However, the previous year’s survey showed that 55.3% of respondents still supported the institution.
Interestingly, The Centre for Sociological Studies, a state-run organization that formerly conducted surveys on public opinion of the monarch, stopped producing such data in 2015. During the last survey conducted in 2014, King Felipe VI received an average score of 4.34 out of 10.
Notably absent from the ceremony was Juan Carlos, the former king, who left Spain in 2020 amidst investigations into alleged financial irregularities. He currently resides in Abu Dhabi. Critics of the monarchy contend that his coronation in 1975 was illegitimate, asserting that he was groomed by dictator Francisco Franco to succeed him.
Supporters of the monarchy counter these claims by referencing Spain’s democratic transition. They argue that Spaniards had the opportunity to choose their form of government when they ratified the parliamentary monarchy in the 1978 constitution. They view the monarchy as a symbolic and apolitical institution, representing national unity and continuity.
As Princess Leonor embarks on her journey as an adult and potential future queen, her role will undoubtedly shape Spain’s future. With the monarchy facing both criticism and support, the country’s political landscape is poised for continued debate.
Reporting by David Latona; Editing by Andrei Khalip and Andrew Heavens.
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