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United States Department of State / Papers relating to the foreign relations of the United States, with the annual message of the president transmitted to Congress December 2, 1902

Spain,   pp. 949-966 PDF (1.4 MB)

Page 956

 and official conduct Her Majesty had bound the intelligent and the good
of all other peoples with strong bonds of admiration and regard. The Queen,
most gracious in her demeanor, throughout the necessarily brief interview
listened with an expression of extreme pleasure and then recalled my previous
residence in Madrid as the American minister and the cordial relations which
then existed with the court. She made special and flattering inquiry about
Mrs. Curry and hoped to see her on to-morrow. To the King, standing beside
his mother, I made my acknowledgments. I was surpr.ised to find him so well
grown and nearly as tall as Her Majesty. He was easy and dignified in manner,
self-possessed, alert in speech, and made a decidedly favorable impression.
His first utterance was, "I am glad to see you. You were here when I was
born." In an adjoining room waited the Princess of Asturias, the King's eldest
sister, to whom I was presented. She kindly said she remembered Mrs. Curry.
Her husband was with her. 
 The 17th, the natal day, was the day fixed by the constitution of 1876 for
the coming of age of the King and the taking of the oath. Elaborate preparations
had been made for the occasion and the ceremonial. The procession from palace
to Chamber of Deputies, through streets beautifully decorated with ancient
tapestries and splendid hangings, was a reproduction of the most magnificent
of media~val cavalcades and displays. Royal coaches, drawn by eight horses,
attended by mace bearers, outriders, royal guards, bore the Queen and King
and Princess of Asturias to the Chamber. Twelve senators and twelve deputies
received Their Majesties at the steps and conducted them to the Chamber,
around which were benches filled by deputies, senators, and ministers, members
of the Government, and many distinguished men and women in dazzling uniforms
and decorations. The foreign princes and special envoys were seated immediately
to the right of a platform which had been specially constructed and on which
were four gilded chairs occupied by the King and Queen Regent and Princess
and Prince of Asturias. As the King took his place upon the throne he was
given a most enthusiastic reception, which he gracefully acknowledged. On
the left of the King was a table on which was a Bible with a silver crucifix
beside it. On time right was another table with a golden crown studded with
jewels and a scepter. The common belief that there was to be a coronation
was an error, as Alfonso was born King and needed not an official coronation.
 The president of the Chamber, addressing the King, said: 
 Seflor, the Cortes convoked by your august mother are assembled to receive
from Your Majesty the oath which, in accordance with the constitution, you
come to take to maintain the constitution and laws. 
 His Majesty, rising and facing the assembly, placed his hand on the Bible
and said in distinct, audible tones and in most impressive manner: 
 I swear by God upon the Holy Bible to maintain the constitution and laws.
If so I do, may God reward me. If I do not, may He call me to account. 
 The ceremony of the transformation from the regency to the King, of the
transference of rule from mother to son, and of the investiture, according
to the constitution, with the rights and prerogatives of a King in his own
separate right was exceedingly simple and intelligible. The boy King's manner
was dignified and self-possessed, and nothing occurred to suggest opposition
or a probable antagonism to the change of government. After this ceremony
of taking the oath the King 

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