King Felipe and Queen Letizia of Spain marked the beginning of a new military year with the traditional Pascua Militar ceremony in Madrid.
The royal couple arrived at the Plaza de la Armería in front of the Royal Palace on Friday, January 6, where they were greeted by Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez and received military honours.
After the national anthem was played and a 21 gun salute was fired, King Felipe reviewed the troops and attended a reception at the palace.
The most solemn part of the day was the awarding of honours to 20 military personnel and speeches by the Minister of Defense and King Felipe himself.
The king addressed the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and the cooperation displayed by NATO, of which Spain also celebrated the anniversary of joining the alliance, and hosted a summit.
“This war, far from undermining our unity or creating cracks between all those who defend international law, freedom, peace, democratic values and an international order based on rules – what it achieved was to reinforce our cohesion and present a common front to the invasion of Ukraine,” the King of Spain said.
The Pascua Militar, which dates back to 1782, is normally the first engagement of the year for King Felipe and Queen Letizia.
However, this year, the King travelled to Brazil on January 1 to attend the inauguration of President Luis Ignacio Lula de Silva.
Pascua Militar has its origins in 1782, when King Carlos III ordered that viceroys, captain generals, governors, and military commanders ‘gather troops and notify in his name chiefs and officers of the armed forces his congratulations’ after the Spanish military’s retaking of the island of Menorca from the British, who had captured it in 1708.