by Jarrell C. Jackman
On June 19th, in a brief ceremony at El Presidio de Santa Bárbara celebrating Crown Prince Felipe’s Coronation in Madrid as King Felipe the Sixth, Governor Felipe de Neve (Michael Hardwick) and Comandante Felipe Goicoechea (Jarrell Jackman) stood before the Chapel as the flag of Prince Felipe of Asturias was lowered and the modern Spanish flag was raised by Presidio garrison Soldados (David Martinez and Roger Knox)—followed by a Viva El Rey Felipe.
Presidio Descendant Suzi Calderon Bellman rang the Chapel bells as part of the ceremony. The group then repaired to the Carlos Tercero statue at the site and toasted, with some Carlos III brandy, the new crowned King. The Crown Prince has visited Santa Barbara twice, once in 1995 when he had a tour of the Presidio and was feted in the Presidio Chapel, and most recently this past November SBTHP hosted the Prince in a special reception in the Loggia Room at the Biltmore Hotel.
As SBTHP launches its 4 x 4 x 4 Campaign to finish another section of the Presidio enclosing the area behind Chapel with an extension of the Defense Wall, shouldn’t we set our sights on having the King come here to unveil the completion of this project? No one ever accused me of being a Sancho Panza—Don Quixote, maybe. But Impossible Dreams do come true.
Jarrell Jackman is the executive director of the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation.