With Madrid subject to restrictions and because of the need to keep crowds to the minimum, the National Day celebration on Monday was untypical. There was no military parade and no reception.
At the Palacio Real, the official residence but only used for state ceremonies, King Felipe, Queen Letizia and their daughters, Leonor and Sofia, watched a smaller parade and an act of tribute to all those who are fighting the pandemic. There was also a wreath-laying at the monument in the Plaza de la Armeria to all those who have lost their lives for Spain.
The occasion was marked by some political tension. Prime Minister Sánchez was accompanied by all the members of the government, who therefore included ministers from Unidas Podemos. This was the first time that the leader of Unidas Podemos, second deputy prime minister Pablo Iglesias, had attended a National Day celebration. As is custom, the King gave Iglesias the military salute.
Iglesias and another Unidas Podemos minister, Alberto Garzón, recently criticised the King for having said to the president of the General Council of Judiciary that he would have liked to have attended a ceremony for the swearing-in of new judges in Barcelona. The King did not attend at the government's request, and Iglesias and Garzón took his comments to the president of the General Council to be contrary to his position of neutrality and to have been a manoeuvre against the government.
For Sánchez, there was a frosty meeting with the president of the Madrid region, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, and the mayor of Madrid, José Luis Martínez-Almeida.
President Armengol opted not to attend this year's celebration, while there was - as every year - no representation from the Basque Country and Catalonia.
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