King Felipe VI has delivered his annual seasonal address to the Spanish nation which was broadcast on Christmas Eve.
The king paid tribute to the inhabitants of La Palma, who have endured 3 months of hardship due to the volcanic eruption in September and which has left thousands homeless and others facing financial ruin.
“Today our hearts and our thoughts remain with you,” the monarch told the islanders.
He also mentioned the ongoing battle against the Covid-19 pandemic and pointed out that the situation has much changed with the vast majority of the Spanish population vaccinated but that the coronavirus can still inflict widespread damage.
Indeed the surge in cases, which this week has risen to the highest on record show “that the virus still has the capacity to harm in many ways – the risk has not disappeared.”
“We all have to do everything possible not to take steps backwards in this health crisis that has caused so much suffering,” Felipe said.
Although there was speculation in the Spanish and international press that the king would make reference to his father, there was no mention of former King Juan Carlos I.
The former monarch, 83, who abdicated in 2014 and who left Spain in August of last year, to live in the United Arab Emirates, following judicial probes on possible financial wrongdoings emerged.
A Swiss investigation into money laundering was shelved this week and rumours persisted of a possible to return to Spain – even if on a temporary basis.
However State Prosecutors in Spain’s Supreme Court are still investigating various allegations of financial irregularities amd the Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez said he has questions to answer.
Felipe has tried to distance the monarchy from the fallout and last year stripped Juan Carlos of his state stippend.
In his Christmas Eve speech he praised the 1978 Constitution and that said that all institutions of the state should serve people.
“We must,” Felipe said, “respect and abide by the laws, and be an example of public and moral integrity.”