With the Princess of Asturias’ 18th Birthday Celebrations approaching, we believe this is the perfect moment to review what happened 37 years ago, on the 30th of January of 1986, when Don Felipe, the then Prince of Asturias, reached his Majority of Age.
On that freezing morning of January, at 11 o’clock, the Prince of Asturias and the Royal Family arrived at the Congress of Deputies, the Palacio de la Carrera de San Jeronimo, in Procession accompanied by the guard of honour of the Guardia Real. Men were in morning suite with the miniature of the Order of the Golden Fleece and woman were in long dress.
This unprecedented ceremony took some time to plan and organize. It was necessary to study the ancient Princes and Princesses of Asturias’ Oath Ceremonies and adjust them to modern times. The result was a brief yet symbolic occasion. The hemicycle was adapted expressly for the occasion, in order to welcome the Government, deputies, senators, diplomatic corps, presidents of the autonomous communities and the highest representation of the State institutions.
At the Palace’s main entrance, the Royal Family was received by the President of the Government and the Chief of the Defence. This was followed by the ceremonial military honours to the King, who reviewed the troops. The Royal Family was later received by the presidents of the Congress of Deputies and the Senate at the main door. After greeting the highest representatives of the State, the Prince of Asturias and the Royal Family entered in hemicycle, taking their seats in the stage. Once they positioned themselves, the National Anthem was performed.
Accompanying the Prince of Asturias in the stage were his parents, King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofia (wearing her Sapphire Parure), his sisters, Infanta Elena and Infanta Cristina, and his grandfather, the Count of Barcelona.
In the guest tribune, above the hemicycle, were Don Felipe’s uncles and aunts, King Constantine II of Greece, Princess Irene, Infanta Pilar and the Duke of Badajoz, Infanta Margarita and the Duke of Soria, the Duke and Duchess of Calabria, the Dowager Duchess of Calabria, and the Duke of Cadiz.
The exceptional joint session of the Congress and the Senate was then declared open. The event is followed by a speech by the President of the Congress. Then, he asked the Prince of Asturias to take his oath:
“Sir, the Cortes Generales are gathered to receive from Your Highness, as the Crown Prince of Spain, the oath that you have come to take in accordance with the Constitution.”
Prince Felipe replied:
“I swear to faithfully carry out my duties, to keep and ensure that the Constitution and the laws are kept, to respect the rights of citizens and the Autonomous Communities, and to be faithful to the King”
before a copy of the Magna Carta that on December 27th, 1978, King Juan Carlos promulgated, sanctioned and signed. The President of the Congress would end the session with the following words:
“Sir, the Cortes Generales have just received the oath that Your Royal Highness has taken, in obedience with the Constitution, as heir to the Crown. Ladies and gentleman, ¡Viva la Constitución! ¡Viva el Rey! ¡Viva España!”
At the same time in Asturias, the bells of churches and public sites rang in honour of their Prince.
Once the session was concluded, the Prince and the Royal Family greeted the Authorities. This was followed by a Military Parade at the Congress Palace’s main door and a Procession back to the Royal Palace of Madrid where a Reception for more than 1.000 people was held.
Before the Reception started, the Prince of Asturias was granted with the Collar of the Royal Order of Charles III by the Government. King Juan Carlos imposed the Grand Collar on his son. The Prime Minister, Felipe Gonzales, remarked in a speech:
“This democratic and free Spain is betting today on its constitutional future in the person of Your Royal Highness, who knows that he has the loyalty and the sympathy of the Government.”
A similar Solemn Ceremony will take place tomorrow, on the occasion of Doña Leonor, the Princess of Asturias’, Majority of Age.
This article was written by assistant editor, David Rato, who runs the Spanish Royal Jewels account on Instagram!