Iconic Politics

Spanish media outlets gasped in recent days after Barcelona’s new mayor, Ada Colau, removed a bust of King Juan Carlos from City Hall.


Even though Catalonia tends to be more republican than other Spanish regions, Colau said the move was not necessarily against the Monarchy.

Instead, the left-wind leader said royal symbolism is over-represented around Barcelona. She promised more changes, including renaming some streets.

Barcelona City Hall includes busts of King Juan Carlos’ parents, and a painting of Queen Regent Maria Cristina and King Alfonso XIII.

Mayor Ada Colau.
Mayor Ada Colau.

Colau also pointed out that Don Juan Carlos is no longer Spain’s head of state, following his abdication.

A community elsewhere in Spain, media outlets reported, is asking for the bust so they can display it.

Conservatives promptly moved to replace the bust with a picture of Spain’s new King, Felipe VI. It did not last long.

© Casa de S.M. el Rey
© Casa de S.M. el Rey

The central government in Madrid and mainstream parties are now pressing Barcelona to put up an image of King Felipe at City Hall, as required by Spanish law.

In recent years politicians in the Basque city of San Sebastian removed the King’s picture from their City Hall in a move directly against the monarchy.


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