Page 6, 8th May 1942

8th May 1942
Page 6
Page 6, 8th May 1942 — What Spain Owed to King Alfonso

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Organisations: navy
People: Alfonso
Locations: Rome


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What Spain Owed to King Alfonso


Shortly before he died, King Alfonso XIII renounced all his rights to the throne in favour of Don Juan, his third son.

In answer, Don Juan addressed a Letter to his dying father, the contents of which are made public in Robert Sencoures new life of Alfonso, to be published during this month.

THE CATHOW HERALD is able to give the full text of this document. It runs as follows: The speech of Don Juan to the Spanish noblemen gathered in Rome for King Alfonso's funeral: " Before you return to Spain, I desire to tell you how deeply grateful am that you have hastened to Rome in such considerable numbers in spite of adverse circumstances to render a final homage to the great King who was my father, " By his death, the country loses the first and most exemplary of her servants. His whole life was taken up by impassioned love of her and zeal for the increase of her greatness. When his dying lips kissed the Crucifix for the last time, the word they uttered was Spain.'

C. A little before he died, he made the generous act of renouncing his rights, an act which was the last generosity of his life, an act for me simply to mention, not to discuss. I then addressed to my father a letter accepting the grave responsibility which had fallen upon me and whigh I am going to read you. It runs as follows: " C Seeor : I receive with a heart charged with the deepest emotion, the solemn announcement that your Majesty has renounced your claim to the throne of Spain.

" ' When history passes judgment on the reign of Alfonso XIII, the least it can do is firstly to recognise the selfrenunciation and the love of country which have inspired your Majesty's activities, even those which were the subject of the politicians most heated arguments.

" S In spite or having struggled incessantly with the ineffectiveness of the political institutions of the times, institutions which had departed from our best traditions, this period will be acknowledged one of the most prosperous in our history. The higher culture of Spain came in it to a new birth and the advantages of education were extended to large numbers of the masses., The population increased, and so did the well-being of the people as a whole, and their standards of living. It may be said that in our country industry then began on a grand scale, the navy took an immense leap forward, and likewise a legislation more generous than that of any other country in Europe at the time, provided benefits for the people and thanks to the energy, to the political insight, and decided per tonal activity of your Majesty, in the struggle against a false state of opinion, you saved for Spain the possession or our territories in Africa (which offer such possibilities for the future), first orgaeising and then moderating in victory the patriotic fighting spirit of an Army whose definite task it was to save Spain in the huge and tragic effort of the last civil war.

• • ' The suffering endured by our people on the occasion of this great National Crusade, and the blood generously poured out by so many glorious martyrs of God and the country deepen the sense of responsibility with which I accept the claim to the throne of Spain which falls to me by the inviolable law of history, which by the design of Providence brings to an end the cycle of quarrels over the rights of succession on which were the main cause of the Civil Wars in the nineteenth century.

' I implore God to grant me the gifts of right judgment, firmness and perseverance necessary to accomplish the objects of my destiny. And when it calls me to assume the crown of Spain, I shall do so with the firm determination to restore the traditional significance of our monarchy for the people and the country.' "

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