Tough Week For King

King Juan Carlos was hoping for this year to be better than the last. But the first week of 2014 is already giving him major headaches.

His Majesty made his first public Monday appearance outside his home, Zarzuela Palace, since his last hip surgery for the annual “Pascua Militar” event at the Royal Palace.

However, Don Juan Carlos still had trouble walking, relied on crutches and fumbled through parts of his speech.

© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos
King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia with Spanish government officials.
© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos

The King’s physical weakness has led some officials to press him to consider abdication. He has declined to do so.

The Royal Household instead highlighted the austerity surrounding the ceremonies and said the King, who blamed low light in the palace’s Throne Room, was just as disappointed in himself.

© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos
King Juan Carlos, Queen Sofia, Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia at the Royal Palace Throne Room.
© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos

But then came news that Judge José Castro had decided to subpoena the King’s daughter, Infanta Cristina, in the corruption investigation involving her husband, Iñaki Urdangarin.

An appeals court had thrown out a previous call for the Infanta to testify. The prosecutor in the case has expressed disagreement with involving her.

Still, she is due to appear in a Palma de Mallorca courtroom in March, according to various news sources.

Royal Household chief Rafael Spottorno has called for a swift resolution of the investigation. The King has said he respects judicial decisions.

King Juan Carlos and Prince Felipe meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida at Zarzuela Palace today.
King Juan Carlos and Prince Felipe meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida at Zarzuela Palace today.

While the Royal Household is looking to recover its eroded popularity — which it surveys regularly — this week’s events has led to more bad press.

The ongoing tough economy plus the loud calls for independence from at least some sectors of Catalan society are also a concern.

Media outlets reported that protestors jeered Queen Sofia and a number of public officials during a public event in Madrid this evening.

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