Talk of Abdication Returns

Some Spanish politicians on the political left are raising the possibility of abdication amid controversy over King Juan Carlos’ hunting trip to Botswana last week, where he suffered a hip fracture.

The head of Madrid’s Socialist Party, Tomás Gómez, said such a trip was not what many Spaniards expected of their Head of State amid economic turmoil, as reported by El Pais.

Perhaps unlike other monarchies, people admire the Bourbon royals but also expect them to work hard and be much more like them. The trend comes from a long history of debate over whether Spain should be a monarchy or a republic.

The Socialist leader also said, “The moment has come for the Royal Household to consider, in this case the Head of State, whether to decide between public obligations and an abdication that will allow for a different life.”

Talk of abdication has come and gone over the years amid the 74-year-old Monarch’s somewhat troubled health. The Associated Press has this story about the debate.

Other politicians also see it as a mistake for the King, a long hunting and sailing aficionado, to be seen photographed in front of an elephant amid high unemployment.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy visited the King in the hospital. Government and Palace sources say Rajoy had been informed, as always, about the King’s activities, according to various press reports.


King Suffers Hip Fracture

King Juan Carlos is recovering from a hip fracture suffered during a hunting trip to Botswana, the Royal Household and media reports said today.

Doctors at USP San José Hospital said his hip replacement surgery was successful. They say the King has already begun physical therapy and should recover in about a month.

El Pais newspaper noted that this is the fourth time the Monarch has been through surgery in two years. The King has been walking with a limp for a while and will be in crutches for at least part of his recovery.

King Juan Carlos had been elephant hunting in Botswana for the past several days. He fell when he tripped at camp during the night. He returned to Spain for medical care on a private flight.

Prince Felipe visiting his father at the hospital
© Agencia EFE

Prince Felipe and Infanta Elena visited their father at the hospital today. The Queen is spending time in her native Greece celebrating Orthodox Easter.

The political far left blasted His Majesty for not waiting his turn before surgery and the hunting trip itself, saying it disrespected people’s economic suffering, El Pais reported.

More Cuts in Royal Household

The Royal Household is planning cuts to protocol and personnel expenses to conform with national austerity measures, El Pais reported today.

The Spanish daily newspaper said the Household was hoping to meet or exceed the new budget’s 2 percent reduction in Royal expenses.

The King’s representatives are also in talks with ministries, which offer support, and Patrimonio Nacional, which manages royal palaces, aimed at cutting costs.

The Crown costs the Spanish state about 8 million euros a year. The King receives about 293,000 euros in salary, a significant portion paid in taxes.

La Granja Palace, Segovia

King’s Grandson Shoots Himself in Foot

Felipe de Marichalar y Borbón, King Juan Carlos’ eldest grandson, shot himself in the foot yesterday during a visit with his father, Jaime de Marichalar.

It appears the 13-year-old was illegally using a shotgun for target practice at the family farm. He would have to be 14 or older to be within the law.

His mother, Infanta Elena, Duchess of Lugo, and Queen Sofia visited him at the hospital today. Both appeared calm when speaking to the assembled press, with the Queen saying, “Such things happen with children.”

Other members of the Royal Family have also made their way to Quirón Hospital.

The media, especially outside Spain, has found parallels between this latest incident and a much more painful episode decades ago.

“The timing of the accident is also a painful reminder for the Spanish Monarch, who 56 years ago, was involved in a shooting accident in which his younger brother Alfonso, 14, was killed,” wrote The Telegraph in the U.K.

News Bites

Queen Sofia yesterday handed out the annual prizes named in her honor to celebrate efforts toward inclusion and access for people with disabilities. Her Majesty is the honorary president for the council of the Royal Patronage for Disabilities, an independent group within government.

© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos

Meanwhile, earlier today Prince Felipe visited the Zaragoza Air Base. He met with service members, toured facilities and saw demonstrations.

© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafo

Also, the Wall Street Journal dug deeper into Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s battle with Spanish oil giant Repsol YPF SA, which has involved royal intervention.



Royals Attend Easter Services

The Prince and Princess of Asturias, the King and Queen, and Infanta Elena, the Duchess of Lugo, attended Easter services at the cathedral in Palma de Mallorca.

© Agencia EFE

Absent were the Duke and Duchess of Palma de Mallorca. Don Iñaki Urdangarín, Infanta Cristina’s husband, is facing corruption charges.

Click here for more pictures from Hola.

Royals Arrive In Mallorca

The Royal Family is preparing to celebrate Easter in the Balearic island of Mallorca. The magazine Hola and the Royal Household reported that Queen Sofia is already there. Below is a picture of her visiting the Lafiore glass factory.

© Govern de les Illes Balears

Meanwhile, the recently married Dutchess of Alba, the woman with the most royal titles in the world, is celebrating Holy Week in Seville, as is her custom.