Updated: Royalty Arrives At Olympics

Queen Sofia rose to her feet and waved at Spanish athletes during the opening ceremonies of the London Olympics.

Queen Sofia at Buckingham Palace.
© Agencia EFE

Queen Sofia attended a reception with Queen Elizabeth II, a distant relative, at Buckingham Palace before heading to the Olympic Stadium.

She also inaugurated the opening of the Spanish House for the events.

Queen Sofia with Spanish Sports Minister José Ignacio Wert and Madrid Mayor Ana Botella
© Agencia EFE

Yesterday, the Queen presided over a reception at the Spanish Embassy in London, where she was accompanied by King Juan Carlos’ sister, Infanta Pilar, Duchess of Badajoz.

© Agencia EFE

Olympic Sendoff

King Juan Carlos, Queen Sofia and other members of the Royal Family hosted several members of the Spanish Olympic delegation before their departure for London.

Group at El Pardo Palace.
© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos

The King recalled the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and the strength of Spanish teams.

During a speech at El Pardo Palace near his own residence at Zarzuela, King Juan Carlos told the athletes that qualifying alone was a great accomplishment.

“Yours is a great responsibility and I am sure you will rise to it,” said His Majesty.

Members of the Royal Family are wrapping up their official agenda before heading to Marivent Palace in Mallorca for vacations.

Prince Felipe with European foreign ministers in the Almudaina Palace in Mallorca last week.

Even though other commitments kept the family away from the King’s Cup regatta in Mallorca, which was held earlier than usual this year because of the Olympics, Prince Felipe’s presence at the awards ceremony added a sense of normalcy to the event, Hola noted.

Prince Felipe with Balearic Island President José Ramón Bauzá Díaz last week.
© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos

Princess Letizia’s Family in Legal Mess

Princess Letizia’s grandmother Menchu Álvarez del Valle testified last week in a criminal bankruptcy case involving two other family members of Her Royal Highness, according to media accounts.

Princess Letizia at a recent conference.
© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos

Princess Letizia’s aunt Henar Ortiz Álvarez and her father Jesús Ortiz are also scheduled to testify in the near future.

Prosecutors say family members had enough in assets to take care of certain debts after an inheritance from José Luis Ortiz Velasco, the Princess’ grandfather.

King No Longer WWF Honorary President

Leaders of the Spanish branch of the World Wildlife Fund have decided to get rid of the post of honorary president, held until now by King Juan Carlos.

King with Bank of Spain president.

The group said that 94 percent of its leadership voted for the action today, which comes amid controversy over Don Juan Carlos’ elephant hunting trip to Botswana.

“Even though this type of hunting is legal and regulated,” the group said in a statement, “it has been considered incompatible by many associates with the honorary presidency of a group like WWF.”

King Meet with Putin, Medvedev

King Juan Carlos today finished a two-day business trip to Russia, where he met with President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

Don Juan Carlos was accompanied by top Spanish politicians and business leaders, including from multinational energy companies Iberdrola SA and Repsol SA.

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

President Putin officially awarded the King the officials State Prize of the Russian Federation. Don Juan Carlos will donate the 125,000 euros that come with the award to restoration efforts in the wake of the earthquake in Lorca, Spain.

King Juan Carlos with President Putin.
© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos

During meetings, the King spoke about Spain’s relations with Russia. He said that the first Russian ambassador to Spain arrived in Cadiz in 1667. He added that Russia was the first country to recognize the Cadiz Cortes, born from the 1812 Constitution.

The King said Russia had become a partner of first order with Europe and promised Spanish friendship. But he also stressed the need for international cooperation and United Nations involvement in the Syria conflict.

Pay Cut for King, Prince

King Juan Carlos has decided to cut his own salary by 7.1 percent to conform with the latest austerity measures announced by the Spanish government.

Prince Felipe and the head of the Royal Household will also see a cut, as will other members of the Royal Family, according to various media outlets.

King meets with Socialist leader Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba.
© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos

Also, in a change of events, Infanta Cristina and her children will join Infanta Elena and Queen Sofia on vacation at Marivent Palace in Palma De Mallorca. Media reports have indicated that the Queen wanted the family together for at least part of the summer.

Infanta Cristina’s husband, Duke of Palma Iñaki Urdangarin, who is under investigation for corruption allegations, is not expected to attend. The Royal Family has been keeping him at a distance.

The Royal Household announced that King Juan Carlos will meet with Balearic officials and Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy during his own visit to Marivent Palace. Media reports also indicate that Queen Sofia will attend the opening of the London Olympics by herself.

Prince Felipe will be on hand for the awards ceremony of the annual King’s Cup regatta in Mallorca. He will also preside over a meeting of foreign ministers at Almudaina Palace, also in Mallorca, to discuss the future of Europe.

King Juan Carlos meeting with King’s Cup organizers at Zarzuela Palace last week.

Tomorrow King Juan Carlos leaves for a trip to Russia.

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King Convenes Ministers Amid Economic Crisis

King Juan Carlos called upon government ministers, including Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, to inform him about the economic situation and crisis measures.

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

During the meeting, the King said Spain was “a mature society that knows how to respond with responsibility, solidarity, maturity and a spirit of sacrifice to pressing circumstances.”

He expressed his concern for disappointed young people looking for work and said economic recovery must spare nobody. He added that Spain “does not lack experience nor examples of resilience.”

King Juan Carlos greets government Vice President Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría.

The King has convened the Council of Ministers a dozen times since the 1978 constitution, the Royal Household said.

Austere Vacation

The Royal Family will continue to break with tradition for their summer vacations this year, Hola is reporting.

The King and Queen will still head to Marivent Palace in Palma de Mallorca in the coming weeks. Prince Felipe, Princess Letizia and their daughter will join them at some point. So will Infanta Elena.

But the Duke and Duchess of Palma will continue keeping their distance amid the ongoing corruption probe. Also, scheduling around the London Olympics will likely keep members of the Royal Family from attending the annual sailing tournament in Mallorca.

King, Queen Host Events Together

King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia hosted events together this week. The media, especially international outlets, have talked about possible troubles in their relationship. And the busy agenda has kept them apart in recent days, at least in public.

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

Today Their Majesties received leaders and students of United World Colleges, a global organization designed to promote peace and understanding through multicultural education.

The King and Queen are high patrons of the foundation in Spain. They were joined by the head of the Spanish chapter of the foundation, the King’s cousin, His Royal Highness Infante Don Carlos de Borbón-Dos Sicilias.

Earlier this week, Their Majesties met with participants of this year’s Ruta Quetzal. Sponsored by Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, the program takes outstanding young people from several countries on an expedition.

El Pardo Palace.
© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos

WWF To Decide King’s Fate

Leaders of the Spanish branch of the World Wildlife Fund is meeting later this month to decide whether to keep King Juan Carlos as honorary president of the organization, according to local media reports.

The July 21 meeting comes as a result of His Majesty’s elephant hunting trip earlier this year. Critics have said the King’s love of hunting is incompatible with the WWF’s mission.

The Royal Household said the King will respect whatever leaders decide.

Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, Queen Elizabeth’s husband, is WWF’s President Emeritus.

Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia at a military ceremony in Talarn today.