The last Friday of every month, the Diplomatic Corps working in Spain has the privilege to attend the Changing of the Guard at the Palace of Buenavista in Madrid, located at Cibeles Square. This event in unique in the world, since it is carried out by the 1st “King’s Immemorial” Infantry Regiment, considered to be the oldest of Spain, since tradition places it as successor of another one called “Bend of Castile”, present in the Army of the King St. Ferdinand III around 1248 when the taking of the Castle of Triana took place, in the reconquest of Seville.
Text: Juan D. Latorre. Pictures: Óscar Sevillano.
Last 19 September, The Diplomat accompanied the members of the Diplomatic Corps who were invited to the events making up the Changing of the Guard presided by the head of division for the Planning of the Army, general José Carrasco Gabaldón. On this occasion, the event was attended by the Ambassadors of Mexico, Palestine, Angola, Equatorial Guinea, Iraq, Syria, Libya, North Korea, Malaysia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Indonesia.
Also attending the event were Sylvie Chantrieux, the chargé d’affaires of Monaco’s Embassy; Meshel Alsaied, Counselor of Kuwait’s Embassy; Sergey Melik, Minister-Counselor of Russia’s Embassy; Anamaria Almasan, president of the Association of International Diplomats in Spain (AIDE) and the Ambassador George Massad.
The visit started with a concert of the music band of the 1st “King’s Immemorial” Infantry Regiment, where its members –with the orchestra conductor leading, the sub-officer major Paulino Ruiz Díaz- performed a varied repertoire masterly, from the pasodoble El Abanico, el Sitio de Zaragoza to the soundtrack of the film Gladiator, and a selection of themes of The Beatles and the cinematographic composer Ennio Morricone.
Dressed up in clothes typical of the periods of the Kings Charles III and Alfonso XIII (18th and 20th centuries, respectively) and following the procedures developed then, the Regiment started the Changing of the Guard, where the martial character, the march of its members and the music bands increased the excitement and delighted the guests and the public gathered at the external gate of the Palace to enjoy the Changing.
Finally, the diplomats attending the event were treated to an honour wine at the Dining Hall of Regiment Officers, where general José Carrasco Gabaldón received them and told them the history of the 1st “King’s Immemorial” Infantry Regiment, they toasted the King Felipe VI and wished him a happy and prosperous reign.