In a ceremony celebrating the fifth anniversary of his accession to the throne, king Felipe VI has defended the "independence", "neutrality" and "unifying vocation" of the Spanish crown.
The monarch, speaking after awarding 41 people the Order of Civil Merit, said that in order to carry out this "fundamental service in the state and society", his actions have to be guided by "exemplariness, dignity, integrity, the ability for sacrifice and unreserved dedication to Spain".
As such, he "restated" his "commitment to the service of all Spaniards which from the first moment has guided my actions as head of state" and his "full confidence in our collective destiny in democracy and freedom".
"Let's now look to our future with pride and determination", he said, and with the "trust we are given by the wishes of the public to live harmoniously and to continue taking steps towards a future of well-being and progress".
The king has faced controversy for his handling of the Catalan independence issue, particularly a speech he gave on 3rd October 2017, just two days after the referendum. A number of Catalan municipalities have gone as far as declaring him persona non grata and the Catalan government has decided to not attend any royal events, or invite him to any events it organises.