The heiress to the Spanish throne, Princess Leonor of Bourbon, swore loyalty to the Constitution on her 18th birthday. This is a crucial step for her potential succession to the head of state, following in the footsteps of her father, King Felipe VI.
Princess Leonor, who was relatively unknown until now, drew significant attention in Spain on this Tuesday. Dressed in an elegant white suit, she took the oath of allegiance to the Constitution in the presence of her father, King Felipe VI.
Accompanied by her mother, Queen Letizia, and her younger sister, Infanta Sofia, Leonor of Bourbon swore the oath before both chambers of Parliament convened in an extraordinary session. This solemn act has previously been performed by her grandfather, Juan Carlos I, in 1969 during the Franco dictatorship, and her father in 1986 during the democratic era.
“I swear to faithfully fulfill my duties, protect and ensure the protection of the Constitution and the laws, respect the rights of citizens and autonomous communities, and be loyal to the king,” she declared, receiving applause for several minutes from the assembly. Clearly moved, the monarch then embraced his daughter.
The brief ceremony was broadcast on large screens set up in the Puerta del Sol square, the heart of Madrid, as well as in other parts of the Spanish capital.
A crowd had gathered around the Parliament, waving Spanish flags and chanting “Long live Spain” as the royal family passed by.
Juan Carlos I, the former king and Leonor’s grandfather, was absent from the ceremony. Plagued by numerous scandals during the latter part of his reign, he had to abdicate in 2014 before going into exile in the United Arab Emirates in 2020. Currently, he is kept at a distance by his son, Felipe VI, who aims to present a model of exemplary conduct for the country.
However, he is expected to attend a private ceremony later in the day at the Pardo Palace, a few kilometers from Madrid.
The outgoing Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, from the socialist party, and the incumbent Vice President of the government, Yolanda Diaz, a communist and leader of the radical left Sumar movement, were in attendance. Nonetheless, three Sumar ministers were notably absent.
A portion of the radical left, which opposes the monarchy, boycotted the ceremony, as did representatives of the Basque, Catalan, and Galician separatist parties, all of which are republic-oriented and never attend meetings with the king.
“Neither monarchy nor Constitution. Democracy. Freedom. Republics,” declared three left-wing separatist parties in a joint statement: the Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC), Bildu, a Basque group considered the successor to the political wing of the now-disbanded ETA armed organization, and the small Galician Nationalist Bloc (BNG).
These three parties claim to express “the feelings of millions of people in Catalonia, the Basque Country, and Galicia who neither recognize nor protect the Spanish monarchy, which they consider an heir to the Francoist dictatorship.”
In contrast to her grandfather, Leonor enjoys a very favorable image and great popularity in a country where the debate on the monarchy is ongoing.