Behind The Royal Guard

Little is known outside of Spain about a force of about 2,000 service members from different branches of the Spanish Armed Forces, including the Armada, who are dedicated to protecting the King and foreign dignitaries.

They also participate in parades, motorcade transport, changing of the guard ceremonies while the King is at the Royal Palace and monthly displays.

Members of the Royal Guard have served in combat abroad.

Click here for video from the Royal Guard website.


Urdangarin Denies Royal Family Involvement

Iñaki Urdangarin told a judge over the weekend that the neither the Royal Household nor his wife, Infanta Cristina, were involved in his controversial business dealings.

Urdangarin, who has been under investigation for corruption associated with a non-profit organization he once led, tried to distance the Royal Family from the scandal.

Urdangarin testified in Mallorca, where is has become persona non grata. Anti-monarchy protesters were outside the courtroom.

In a related matter, there is a growing split between the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) and its Catalonian (PSC) counterpart. They are divided over a possible referendum on independence and, more recently, PSC chief Pere Navarro asking for the King’s abdication.

King Juan Carlos meets with Portuguese Foreign Minister Paulo Sacadura Cabral Portas today.
King Juan Carlos meets with Portuguese Foreign Minister Paulo Sacadura Cabral Portas today.

A small leftist party is asking the Royal Household to distance itself or confirm claims in El Mundo by German princess and King Juan Carlos confidante Corinna zu Sayn Wittgenstein that she tried to find Urdangarin a job and has helped Spain on sensitive missions.

Queen Sofia at the Royal Academy of Arts.
Queen Sofia at the Royal Academy of Arts.

Monarchy Now In Crisis

Media reports indicate that prosecutors may ask a judge to include Infanta Cristina in their anti-corruption investigation involving her husband Iñaki Urdangarin.

Also, some politicians are re-opening the question of abdication, suggesting that King Juan Carlos make way for his son to take over as Head of State.

King Juan Carlos scheduled to return to the hospital soon for hernia operation.
© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos

However, the Royal Household said there was no talk at all of abdication.

Prince Felipe leads a meeting on the economy at the Bank of Spain.
Prince Felipe leads a meeting on the economy at the Bank of Spain.

Today, Spanish Government Vice President Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, according to news reports, defended King Juan Carlos and the Monarchy as a uniting force in Spanish society.

She also dismissed efforts to include the Royal Household in new transparency legislation. She said it should remain autonomous from other agencies.

While the King has published budget and earnings information, the ruling conservative People’s Party says more open books would be unprecedented among major European Royal Houses.

Queen Sofia inaugurates new pharmaceutical facilities in Guadalajara.
Queen Sofia inaugurates new pharmaceutical facilities in Guadalajara.

Urdangarin is scheduled to testify again in the investigation this weekend.

Click here for a an Associated Press story on the Monarchy’s popularity troubles.

Click here for another story from the New York Times.

King May Soon Be Back In Hospital

King Juan Carlos may have to return to the hospital for yet another operation, potentially the latest in numerous procedures in the past several years.

After a series of routine tests, Royal Household medical chief Miguel Fernández Tapia-Ruano said His Majesty’s condition was “satisfactory.”

However, the King will undergo further tests to asses the severity of an old hernia and, as a result, will scale back his schedule this week.

A press released said doctors would determine “the most adequate treatment.” The hernia may be keeping him from walking upright, media reports said.

Meanwhile, other members of the Royal Family are continuing their full schedule.

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

Today Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia handed out the National Awards for Culture at the Pardo Palace in the outskirts of Madrid.

Emails, Testomony Put Royal Household On Defensive

Emails and new sworn testimony by Diego Torres, the former business associate of King Juan Carlos’ son-in-law Iñaki Urdangarin, is once again putting the Royal Family on the defensive, according to several media reports.

Torres says King Juan Carlos and his daughter Infanta Cristina, knew about Urdangarin’s business dealings, which are not the subject of a high profile corruption investigation.

Basque poster showing disdain for Urdangarin and King Juan Carlos.
Basque poster showing disdain for Urdangarin and King Juan Carlos.

While Urdangarin denies any wrongdoing blames Torres for any irregularities, especially with heir non-profit Nóos Institute, Torres is trying to turn the tables.

Like Infanta Cristina and Infanta Elena’s secretary, royal legal adviser José Manuel Romero, Count of Fontao, is denying claims that he was also involved in Urdangarin’s business web.

Instead Romero says that he advised that it was not accurate to call the Nóos Institute a non-profit. The Royal Household eventually told Urdangarin to distance himself from questionable schemes.

Emails also show that German noble Corinna Sayn-Wittgenstein, a close friend of King Juan Carlos, tried to help Urdangarin land a well-paid job.

Click here for coverage from El País.

Click here for coverage from Hola.

News Roundup

Today King Juan Carlos, Queen Sofia and Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia lunched with Guatemalan President Otto Fernando Pérez Molina and his wife at the Royal Palace in Madrid.

President Pérez Molina also visited the King at Zarzuela Palace.

© Casa de Su Majestad el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos
© Casa de Su Majestad el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos

Yesterday King Juan Carlos and Prince Felipe met with former Chilean President Ricardo Lagos, Ibero-American Secretary General Enrique Iglesias and former Mexican Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa Cantellano.

They spoke about improving the regular Ibero-American summits.

20130212 audiencia ricardo lagos, enrique iglesias y patricia espinosa

Earlier this week King Juan Carlos presided over the Basketball King’s Cup held in the Basque Country, where the Barcelona team emerged victorious.


Urdangarin Drama Intensifies

A new book by reporters for Spanish newspaper El Mundo is shedding some light into events that supposedly led to the ongoing corruption investigation against the King’s son-in law Iñaki Urdangarín.

The tome says that Urdangarin saw himself in financial trouble after buying what is often called a small palace in the exclusive Pedralbes area of Barcelona.

The book says that King Juan Carlos was upset at Urdangarin’s previous living arrangements with Infanta Cristina. Don Juan Carlos, it says, said his daughter was used to living in a palace and not a small apartment.


Also included is a story about Prince Felipe getting into an argument with Urdangarin over money. The reporters say the Prince was unhappy with his brother-in-law asking for help to pay for his expenses.

Adding to the drama, the book says that Urdangarin blamed Princess Letizia, a former journalist, for orchestrating at least some of his public troubles.

The Royal Household maintains that it told Urdangarin to give up his business dealings years ago.

Urdangarin Fails To Make Bail

Iñaki Urdangarin, the Duke of Palma and King Juan Carlos’ son-in-law, may have properties embargoed after failing to pay his part of 8.2 million in bail connected to the corruption investigation against him.

With the situation deteriorating, the community of Palma De Mallorca removed street signs in honor of the Duke and his wife, Infanta Cristina.

Meanwhile, other members of the Royal Family are working to continue their duties and show their worth to the Spanish people.

King Juan Carlos has been meeting with delegations at Zarzuela Palace. He also welcomed new ambassadors this week at the Royal Palace in Madrid.

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Queen Sofia paid a visit to the National Center for Biotechnology this week, as well.

And Prince Felipe officially retired the Prince of Asturias aircraft carrier.

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King Meets With Now Separatist Leader

King Juan Carlos met this week with Catalonian President Artur Mas, who is pursuing a referendum on whether to declare independence from Spain.

20130131 audiencia presidente generalitat cataluña 01

Little news came of the highly anticipated meeting, where Mas was to present the King with his plans. Don Juan Carlos has spoken out against pro-sovereignty moves.

Media sources noted that the King was serious when receiving the autonomic leader. The two spoke for about 45 minutes.