Together For The Holidays

The magazine ¡HOLA! has been keeping an eye on the Spanish Royals and their Holiday comings and goings.

They recently spotted Infanta Cristina and her sister Infanta Elena with their children at El Prado Museum in Madrid. Also with them, according to the magazine, was Prince Kyril of Bulgaria, a family friend.

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¡HOLA! noted how happy Infanta Cristina looks despite her recent troubles, mainly her husband’s ongoing corruption investigation.

The magazine earlier this month caught members of the Royal Family, including Queen Sofia and Princess Letizia, at the theater in Madrid.

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¡HOLA! noted that it was the first time that Infanta Cristina, the Duchess of Palma, and Princess Letizia, the Princess of Asturias, are photographed together in many months.

The corruption issue has reportedly divided them. Letizia and her husband, Prince Felipe, the future King and Queen, are concerned about its effects on the Monarchy as an institution.

King Juan Carlos Calls For Unity

King Juan Carlos called for unity and confidence during his Christmas Eve message, an annual tradition that allows the Monarch to speak at length about ongoing problems.

This year’s speech from his office at Zarzuela Palace was notable because it comes amid a secessionist push in Catalonia, ongoing Basque nationalism and a troubled economy.

It’s also the first year the King’s Christmas message is broadcast on YouTube and available in the different languages under the Spanish Crown.

The King said these were “among the toughest moments in recent Spanish history.” Speaking about the economy and politics, he said, “We cannot ignore than pessimism exists.”

Amid ongoing concerns about layoffs and spending cuts, the King said, “Austerity and growth must be compatible.”

Recalling the many tough times lived by Spaniards in the past, he added, “The first stimulus that will get us out of this crisis is confidence.”

© Casa de Su Majestad el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos

His Majesty, treading carefully around the secession issue, he called on politicians to seek policies that unite rather than divide.

Amid concerns about the viability of the Spanish state as it currently stands, King Juan Carlos called Spain a “great nation” that must be part of global solution to economic and social concerns.

The King recognized the plurality of languages, cultures and traditions that have coexisted within Spain for centuries.

“Its necessary to promote values like mutual respect and reciprocal loyalty,” he said, hoping that politicians “do what’s possible to close open wounds.”

© Casa de Su Majestad el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos

Catalonian Republicans and separatists said they wanted more unity, but within Europe and not the Spanish state.

Some who support a unified Spain said the King was not forceful enough in discouraging regional nationalism.

In a recent open letter addressing Catalonian separatism, King Juan Carlos said it was not the time to pursue chimeras.

Royal Family Now On YouTube

The Spanish Royal Household announced its new YouTube account today.

It coincides with the 100 day anniversary of the Royal Family’s new website.

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The YouTube page already contains videos of the Royals in action. It also has all the King’s Christmas messages since 1975.

This year’s speech will be broadcast live online. Copies will then be available in every recognized language under the Spanish Crown.

Among The Most Blue Blooded Women In The World

Queen Sofia met this week with close friend the Duchess of Alba, known for being the woman with the most titles of nobility in the world.

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

Her Majesty and the Duchess, Cayetana Fitz-James Stuart, attended an exhibit of works from the House of Alba at Madrid’s iconic Cibeles Palace.

On hand were several Spanish government officials and the Duchess’ son, Carlos Fitz-James Stuart, the Duke of Huéscar.

© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos
Admiring Goya’s “The Duchess of Alba in White.”
© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos

The collection includes works by Goya, Rubens and letters by Christopher Columbus.

Merry Christmas From The Royal Family

Queen Sofia and King Juan Carlos, and Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia have unveiled their Christmas cards.

This year the Royal Household did not distribute cards for Infanta Elena, Infanta Cristina, according to new protocol.

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The King and Queen’s cards include a reproduction of Maarten van Heemskerck’s “The Adoration of the Shepherds,” part of the Royal Collection in El Escorial palace and monastery.

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Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia put a picture of their daughters, Infanta Leonor and Infanta Sofia, on their own Christmas cards.

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20121214_felicitaciones_navidad_b2w

El País, citing a Royal Household source, said the Spanish people had largely forgiven King Juan Carlos for his controversial trip to Botswana.

But the corruption probe surrounding Infanta Cristina’s husband Iñaki Urdangarin, Duke of Palma de Mallorca, remains a problem for the Royal Family.

Infighting Among Spanish Nobility

Many Spanish nobles, particularly those bearing one of the highest titles in the Kingdom — that of “Grandee” — are constantly fighting each other in court and in the press over the privilege to hold such title.

Newspaper El País recently highlighted several ongoing controversies over who is the rightful bearer of certain hereditary titles. King Juan Carlos only rarely grants titles of nobility, which are regulated by the Constitution, making them more coveted.

Heraldic crown of Spanish Grandees.
Heraldic crown of Spanish Grandees.

Lola Galán noted that Spanish peers no longer have certain special privileges like carrying diplomatic passports or serving in an upper house of parliament.

At least they get to be called “cousin” by the King.

She Will Remain Princess

The Royal Household has never asked Infanta Cristina to renounce her role within the Royal Family or to divorce her husband Iñaki Urdangarin, the Duke of Palma de Mallorca.

© Agencia EFE, as posted online by the Royal Household.
Infanta Cristina greeting U.S. President Barack Obama.
© Agencia EFE, as posted online by the Royal Household.

El País royal watcher Mábel Galaz reported that a Household spokesman had denied rumors and reports that the King’s people had made the requests to the Infanta amid her husband’s ongoing legal troubles.

Infanta Cristina's personal standard.
Infanta Cristina’s personal standard.

Galaz reported that Infanta Cristaina recently returned from a trip to Africa. However, the Royal Household is keeping her at a distance and off the official agenda.

King To Leave Hospital Today, Prince Visits Mexico

Doctors have given King Juan Carlos the all-clear to leave the hospital today after recovering from hip surgery, one of several in recent years. His Majesty will be less visible in the coming days because of ongoing recovery.

Meanwhile, this weekend Prince Felipe traveled to Mexico to attend the installation ceremonies for the country’s new President Enrique Peña Nieto and meet with outgoing President Felipe Calderón.

The Prince of Asturias is, by Royal Decree, Spain’s official representative at the swearings-in of Ibero-American leaders.

Prince Felipe with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden. © Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos
Prince Felipe with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden at the ceremony.
© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos

While in Mexico, Prince Felipe also met with local leaders and inaugurated a branch of the Fundación José Ortega y Gasset-Gregorio Marañón at Mexico’s Universidad Autónoma.

© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos
A plaque marking Prince Felipe’s visit.
© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos

The foundation has several branches around the world. It honors well known Spanish scholars and is dedicated ti study and research in the field of humanities.