In 1986, on the eve of his swearing in the Constitution, the then Prince Felipe offered a solemn message on Spanish television for all viewers. “Thank you for helping me become a worthy heir to the Spanish Crown,” he declared in his speech, which was recorded at the Zarzuela Palace. Dressed in his cadet uniform—a symbol of the start of his military career—he is serious and calm, despite being only 17 years old.
Now, 38 years after the broadcast, a walk through the RTVE archives has uncovered fake shots and behind-the-scenes footage of a smiling young prince who was also a bit nervous before one of his first televised speeches. In this, he asked for the support of the citizens and showed their commitment.
In the gardens and inside the palace, the recording had to be repeated several times under the watchful eye of his team, the reporters, and the cameras. Prince Philip consulted all of them about the results on a small television screen, paying attention to every possible detail. “When one (take) comes out, they don’t come out anymore,” he laughed, joking about his image in one of the scenes.
They consider everything from the shots chosen to the way well-chosen words are pronounced. “I said ‘oath’ and not ‘ my oath’,” he explained before shaking his head and asking for the recording to be repeated.
An unprecedented ceremony
This is not the first time he has spoken publicly. At the age of 13, he gave his first speech at the Prince of Asturias Awards, a ceremony held every year at the Campoamor Theater in Oviedo. However, the importance of the moment is evident in the filming of his speech.
On reaching the age of majority, he must appear before the Congress of Deputies to swear that he will abide by the Magna Carta and commit to fulfilling his responsibilities as the future head of state. And he had to do it in front of many representatives, ministers, regional presidents, journalists, and the Royal Family itself in an unprecedented ceremony at the time.
Almost four decades later, Congress began dressing for a new oath. The tapestries have begun to be installed, and the tribune where the presidency sits has been dismantled to put up a structure that will serve as a stage. As for her, Princess Leonor should follow in her father’s footsteps on October 31.