Your Excellency, Mr Mayor,
Thank you very much for your kind words.
Councillors, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am most touched by the great honour you have done me in presenting me with the Golden Key of the City of Madrid. This is something I will always treasure. And, in addition, I would very much like to thank you for the warm welcome you and the people of Madrid have given my wife and myself. It is easy to feel welcome in a city that has streets named after England, Scotland, London, Edinburgh and, indeed, Doctor Fleming!
I last visited Madrid in May 2004 when I had the great pleasure of attending the marriage of The Prince and Princess of The Asturias. Only a month earlier, I had attended the profoundly moving Memorial Service for the victims of the atrocious 11th March terrorist attacks. I wanted the people of Madrid to know how much they and all Spain were in the thoughts and prayers of the people of Great Britain.
Standing in this ancient building, in the heart of one of Europe’s greatest and most historic cities, I cannot help but reflect on the centuries which have bound together our two countries and, indeed, our two Royal Families. The importance of these ties has never been in doubt (even if the Renaissance period saw the occasional disagreement!). England was, of course, the first country to establish a permanent diplomatic mission in Spain just over 500 years ago, second only to The Holy See.
And talking of ties, yesterday I met CEO’s of Spanish companies, many with growing interests in the United Kingdom. I was heartened to see the extent to which their efforts were focussed on sustainable development projects and I wanted, if I may, to applaud their efforts to recognise that climate change is “a clear and present danger” and to waste no time in doing all they can to adapt their practices and business models to tackle it. I am afraid we have no choice but to work together to build low-carbon economic growth if we are to bequeath a Planet capable of sustaining human life for our children and grandchildren. The challenge really is no less urgent than that...
Ladies and gentlemen, global problems call for global solutions and I can only hope and pray that the partnership between Britain and Spain will continue to act as a catalyst for progress. This is why I am so proud to receive the Golden Key of Madrid for which I can only offer you my heartfelt gratitude.