Spanish royals, dignitaries pay tribute to victims of COVID-19 with black masks, white roses
MADRID (SPAIN) – In a ceremony headed by Spain’s King Felipe VI on Thursday, dignitaries from the country and abroad paid tribute to the victims of the pandemic by donning black face masks and placing white roses on a pedestal.
Most of the 400 dignitaries who had gathered outside the Royal Palace in the Spanish capital, including the relatives of some of the victims, laid white roses on a pedestal surrounding a bowl containing glowing coals.
In his address to the relatives of the victims, Felipe said: “You are not alone in your pain, it’s our shared pain, it’s our grief that today is witnessed here by all Spaniards.”
The king said that a good number of people who died were elderly folks “whose lives changed the course of our history” on the path towards democracy.
He also heaped praise on families for adhering to the curbs of one of Europe’s strictest lockdowns with “great courage, self-sacrifice and discipline”, adding that it was essential to tackle the spread of coronavirus.
“Spain has shown its best spirit. Because when the years go by and we remember this time, these days, we will also remember that we have given ourselves an example, once again in our history, of civility, of maturity, of resistance, of commitment to others,” he said.
Ursula von der Leyen, who heads the European Commission and other senior EU officials, and World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus also took part in the ceremony held at the Armoury Square.
Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez also paid tribute to the public servants who remained at the forefront of the battle against the pandemic.
Quim Torra, the head of the regional government of Catalonia, who is seeking independence for the region, attended the ceremony in a rare display of unity.
Right-wing Vox party was conspicuous by its absence. It slammed the event as “an advertising campaign for the government”.
(Photos syndicated via Reuters)
This story has been edited by BH staff and is published from a syndicated field