In his Christmas Eve message, King Felipe did not make an explicit reference to his father and to the controversies which have surrounded Juan Carlos in 2020, only stating that the character of his reign since 2014 and the abdication has been one of “renovation” and stressing that “the moral and ethical principles” demanded by the citizens “place obligations on everyone without exception”.
These are above “any consideration of whatever kind, even personal and family”. “This is how I have always understood, in line with my convictions, my responsibilities as head of state, with a renewing spirit that has inspired my reign from day one.”
The King alluded to “preserving ethical values” of society, to “democratic principles” and to “law enforcement” and stressed that in “these times of uncertainty”, the Spanish Constitution is a guarantee of the way in which Spaniards understand life, society, dignity, rights and freedom.
He called on Spaniards not to forget that the progress achieved through democracy has been the result of the pact between Spaniards after “a long period of confrontation and division”. This means looking to the future together, united by “democratic values” and an “integrating spirit” that respect “plurality and differences” through the ability to conduct dialogue and reach agreements. These principles “never lose their validity”.
The model of “democratic coexistence” has been one of the strengths with which the serious situation caused by the pandemic has been faced. Spaniards, the King said, have overcome other “serious difficulties” in recent decades. This one will be no different. “Neither the virus nor the economic crisis will break us.
The King had words for the families who have not been able to meet because of the restrictions and also for the deceased, who have left “a void in thousands of homes that is impossible to fill”. He offered encouragement to those who are fighting against the disease and he called for maintaining “individual responsibility as an effective instrument” while vaccines and treatments are arriving.
He recognised that 2020 has been “very tough and difficult”. The virus has brought “suffering, sadness and fear” and has left many families with the anguish of unemployment and precariousness, with not being able to cover basic needs or with having to give up a business after a lifetime of dedication.
The King called for a “great national effort”, pointing to the thousands of citizens who have worked for others “with self-denial and commitment”. He paid tribute to health workers for their “extraordinary professionalism and great humanity” and highlighted the fact that the pandemic has shown “a more united society than ever”.
“It will not be easy to overcome the current situation, but with effort, union and solidarity, Spain will move forward. With everyone and for everyone; as King, I will be with everyone and for everyone. Not just because this is my duty and conviction but also because it is my commitment to you, to Spain.”