King Felipe Vi with Frey Matthew Festing./ Photo: Casa de S.M. el Rey
The Diplomat. Madrid
The Grand Master of the Sovereign Order of Malta, Frey Matthew Festing, was received on Thursday at the Zarzuela Palace by King Felipe VI, after having lunch at the Viana Palace with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, José Manuel García-Margallo.
In the meeting with King Felipe were also present the secretary of State for the European Union, Fernando Eguidazu, the Grand Chancellor of the Order, baron Albrecht von Boeselager, its Ambassador to Spain, Jean-Marie Musy, and the Spanish delegate before the Order of Malta, Eduardo Gutiérrez Sáenz de Buruaga, who is the current Ambassador before the Holy See.
In July, the Spanish Government granted Frey Matthew Festing the Collar of Isabella the Catholic.
The Sovereign Order of Malta, one of the oldest of the world, is the only case of a State without territory that has a legal system of its own and that maintains diplomatic relations with 106 as well as before several international organizations. Among its 13,500 members is King Felipe’s father, King Juan Carlos I.
The order’s headquarters are in Rome and the Grand Master is its visible head; Frey Matthew Festing was chosen in March 2008 and he is the 79th. It was founded in 1048 by the blessed Gerardo, its complete name is “Sovereign Military Hospitable Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta” and it has an apolitical and neutral character, which makes it useful to act as a mediator in some conflicts.