IN his first speech since he was earmarked to become king, Spain's Crown Prince Felipe has spoken delicately about the need for unity in a country that has been hit by separatist fervour and crushing unemployment.
Sticking to protocol as the future symbolic leader of Spain's constitutional monarchy, Felipe got his point across without mentioning by name Spain's two biggest problems: the drive in the northeastern region of Catalonia for a secession referendum and the nation's 25pc jobless rate.
"In the difficult times like those we are going through, the experience of times past shaped in history show us that, only by uniting our hard work, putting the common good in front of special interests and promoting initiative and... the creativity of each person, we succeed in advancing toward better scenarios," Felipe said at a cultural award ceremony in an ancient church in northeastern Spain.
Watched attentively by his wife Princess Letizia, Felipe characterised Spain as both "united and diverse."
The crown prince will become King Felipe VI as early as June 18 following Monday's announcement by King Juan Carlos that he will abdicate because his son is ready for the job and the country needs new royal blood to lead it.