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On the Paseo de la Castellana in Madrid

The President of the Government of Spain attends the commemorative events for Spain's National Day, presided over by Their Majesties the King and Queen of Spain

Madrid, Tuesday 12 October 2021

After the military parade, President Sánchez attended the reception offered by Their Majesties the King and Queen of Spain at the Royal Palace in Madrid.

The King and Queen of Spain and the Infanta Sofía were also accompanied by the President of the Lower House of Parliament and the President of the Upper House of Parliament, as well as military, regional and local authorities.

Pool Moncloa/Fernando CalvoThe National Day celebrations began with a videoconference between the Minister for Defence, Margarita Robles, and the Spanish military contingents on international missions, to whom she wished a "happy day" and to whom she expressed her pride in "their sacrifice, generosity and heroism".

The parade itself began shortly after 10.30 a.m. with a review by the King, accompanied by the Chief of Defence Staff who paid their respects. A parachute team from the Air Force Parachute Patrol (PAPEA) then landed in the Plaza de Lima, where the Royal Tribune was located, carrying the Spanish flag.

This was followed by a tribute to those who gave their lives for Spain, which concluded - as is traditional - with the 'Eagle Patrol' flying the colours of the Spanish flag over the sky of Madrid.


The event continued with a fly-by involving 68 aircraft, including F-18, Eurofighter and F-5B jets from the Spanish Air Force and an AV-8B Harrier aircraft from the Navy, followed by an A400M refuelling aircraft, simulating a refuelling operation for two fighter jets.

Among the transport and tactical aircraft, A400M, C-130, C-295 and C-212 as well as A-310, Falcon 900 and TR-20 aircraft flew over the Paseo de la Castellana, followed by P-3 maritime surveillance aircraft, D-4 VIGMA, a CN-295 from the Guardia Civil Aircraft Group and a C-212 from the Customs Surveillance Service. Closing this formation were the Canadair 'fire-fighting' aircraft.

The next group to fly south-north along the Castellana was made up of Superpuma and S-76C helicopters from the Spanish Air Force, SH-60B and AB-212 from the Spanish Navy, and Cougar, NH-90, Chinook and Tigre from the Spanish Army Air Force, as well as Dauphin and EH-35 from the Guardia Civil.

The rotary wing fly-by included the participation of Cougar and EC-135 emergency support helicopters assigned to the Military Emergency Unit, and EC-225s from Maritime Rescue - an entity of the Ministry for Public Works and Transport -, closing with the EC-135s of the National Police Air Resources Service, which this year celebrates its 42nd anniversary, and a Dauphin from the Tax Agency.

The fly-by ended with an 'Eagle Patrol', of which two female officers are part, drawing the colours of the National Flag in the sky over Madrid.

Land parade

Pool Moncloa/Fernando CalvoFor its part, the land parade featured 115 vehicles and 2,658 soldiers from the Army, the Navy, the Military Emergency Unit and the Guardia Civil.

Four groups took part in the parade of units on foot, the first three at ordinary pace and the fourth with the characteristic pace of the Legion and the Regular units.

The first Grouping started the parade of the foot units. The Royal Guard with its three companies 'Monteros de Espinosa', made up of soldiers from the Spanish Army, 'Mar Océano', made up of soldiers from the Spanish Navy, and 'Plus Ultra', with personnel from the Spanish Air Force.

For its part, the second grouping was made up of a Navy Battalion, with two companies from the Tercio de Armada; an Air Force Battalion composed of an Air Deployment Support Squadron (EADA) and an Air Force Parachute Sapper Squadron (EZAPAC). This Grouping also incorporates a company from the Emergency Intervention Battalion of the UME and a company from the Reserve and Security Group of the Guardia Civil.

The third Grouping had a company from the Parachute Brigade, one from the 'Galicia' 64th Mountain Hunters Regiment, one from the First 'Inmemorial del Rey' Regiment, and one from the 'Alcántara' Regiment.

Finally, the fourth grouping was formed by specific passage units, on this occasion, two companies of the Legion's Tercio 'Gran Capitán' and two companies of the Grupo de Regulares 'Ceuta' 54.

At the end of the ceremony, the Chief of Defence Staff, Admiral General Teodoro López Calderón, briefed the King. The King and Queen of Spain, accompanied by the President of the Government of Spain and the Minister for Defence, then greeted the commanders of the units taking part in the parade.

Videoconference with overseas contingents

Prior to this central event, the Minister for Defence held a videoconference with the heads of the Spanish detachments participating in missions abroad, to congratulate them, "on behalf of the King, of all Spaniards and in my own name" on the celebration of National Day.

The Spanish Armed Forces currently have 2,711 troops deployed in international missions of the UN, NATO and the EU. In these 32 years of missions, some 180,000 men and women have participated in more than 80 missions.

The minister today connected with the heads of the 19 land and air detachments, navy ships and UN international peace observers, who gave updates on the status of their respective missions and the activities they will be carrying out today in the different locations where they are deployed.

I thank you again for all you are doing," she said. For carrying the name of Spain aloft. For their sacrifice, their generosity and their heroism in situations which, although people don't know it, I know are very complicated, very difficult, and which on many occasions are putting their lives at risk.

Margarita Robles also thanked them for their preparation, strength and efficiency in overcoming mistakes and wished them a happy day.

She concluded by saying that "we are very proud of all of you", wishing you "much enjoyment in your celebrations and your toasts" and asking you "to keep us in your thoughts as well. Remember the dead, their families and those of us who are here".

"Have a nice day," she wished them.

Non official translation