King Felipe Marks Coup Attempt

King Felipe last week marked the 40th anniversary of the failed coup that almost derailed Spain’s nascent Democracy in 1981.

His Majesty presided over a small ceremony at the Congress of Deputies with Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez and other top officials.

King Felipe on the floor of the Spanish Congress with other top officials. Gunshot damage is still visible in the ceiling from the coup attempt. Spanish Royal Household

King Felipe recalled his father, King Juan Carlos, being instrumental in putting down the coup. He called military leaders and, after delays, was able to make a televised address to call for respecting the new constitution.

The coup involved a Civil Guard officer, Antono Tejero, storming the Congress with a small crew and holding lawmakers hostage. Plotters also took over state television and were poised to begin taking over the country.

King Felipe was a child when the events happened. King Juan Carlos made sure he was present during some of the toughest moments so the then-heir would learn from the developments.

King Juan Carlos Pays Millions In Back Taxes

King Juan Carlos has paid more than 4 million euros in back taxes, according to his attorney, Spanish media outlets reported last week.

Don Juan Carlos has been working to regularize his status with tax authorities, particularly concerning transactions dating from 2014, when he abdicated the throne and lost his immunity.

King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia at the Spanish Congress in 2018. Spanish Royal Household

The tax payments stem from free flights and other services King Juan Carlos enjoyed at the expense of his cousin, businessman Álvaro of Orleans.

Violent Protests Follow Rapper’s Arrest

Last week’s arrest of Spanish rapper Pablo Hasel has unleashed days of violent protests in Barcelona and other areas, particularly in Catalonia.

Catalan police arrested Hasel at the University of Lleida, where he was holed up with his supporters. Hasel had until February 12 to turn himself in after the Spanish Supreme Court upheld a 2018 conviction against the rapper of supporting terrorism and injuries against the Crown.

King Felipe attending a business conference in Aragon late last week. Spanish Royal Household

Spain’s penal code includes provisions to punish people who insult the the King or his family. The law is not meant to silence criticism of the Crown and prosecutions are rare.

Princess Leonor To Study Abroad

Leonor, the Princess of Asturias and heir to the Spanish throne, will study abroad in Wales, the Royal Household said today, according to media outlets.

 The 15-year-old will be attending UWC Atlantic College for two years at a cost of more than $90,000, to be paid for by King Felipe and Queen Letizia.

The school is run by United World Colleges, which has educated well-known people in the arts and government, including royals.

Spanish state broadcaster TVE is in hot water after a graphic saying Princess Leonor was leaving Spain just like her grandfather, King Juan Carlos. The internal and political backlash has been fierce.

King Felipe Freezes His Salary

King Felipe is freezing his salary, along with pay for his wife and mother, the Royal Household said in recent weeks.

His Majesty is keeping his salary at just over 253,000 euros. Queen Letizia makes just over 139,000 euros and Queen Sofia just over 114,000 euros.

King Felipe and Queen Letizia in the Madrid Royal Palace Throne Room during a reception for the diplomatic corps. Spanish Royal Household

The Royal Household is withholding King Juan Carlos’ pay amid allegations of shady financial dealings. The money will go to information technology improvements.

Royals Open The 2021 Agenda

King Felipe and Queen Letizia opened the royal agenda this year with the Pascua Militar — an event with top military and government leaders at the Madrid Royal Palace that coincides with Epiphany.

His Majesty focused his remarks in the Royal Palace Throne Room on the pandemic. He did the same during his Christmas Eve speech last month.

King Felipe also held separate gatherings with military leaders this week also at the Madrid Royal Palace.

Spanish Royal Household

His Majesty has at least three audiences Monday at the Pardo Palace, just outside of central Madrid near the royal residence of Zarzuela Palace.

King Addresses Father’s Misdeeds

King Felipe’s Christmas Eve message today, his most important of the year, was relatively short and simple, focusing mainly on the COVID-19 pandemic and ethical scandals.

Specifically, His Majesty addressed corruption allegations against his father, King Juan Carlos, who helped steer Spain from dictatorship to democracy in the 1970s.

King Felipe did not directly mention his father but he left no doubt what he was talking about. Don Felipe, among other steps, has resigned any financial ties and inheritance from his father.

“Together with our democratic principles and following the law, we must also preserve the ethical values that are at the root of our society,” said King Felipe.

Spanish Royal Household

The King’s speech this year was particularly simple. His background included Christmas declrations, one picture, flags and a copy of the Spanish Constitution.

Like years before, he encouraged Spaniards not to lose hope — this time amid the pandemic and its economic consequences.

Royals Release Christmas Cards

The Spanish Royal Family released this year’s Christmas cards this week.

King Felipe, Queen Letizia, Princess Leonor and Infanta Sofia signed one card featuring the princess and the infanta posing in the community of Somao in the Principality of Asturias.

The Princess of Asturias Foundation picks a community to celebrate every year in concert with the Princess of Asturias Awards. Somao won this year.

King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia released a separate card, featuring a painting of the Nativity. They usually feature a piece of art with a Chrismas theme in their card.

The Royal Family used to release a card with multuple relatives but stopped doing so after they found it hard to get everyone together. Controversies and King Juan Carlos’ abdication have also reduced the number of people considered members of the core Royal Family.

King Juan Carlos Reveals Hidden Earnings

King Juan Carlos, King Felipe’s father and Spain’s former head of state, has revealed previously-hidden earnings to tax authorities in an effort to avoid prosecution, news outlets have reported in recent days.

That does not mean, however, that the former monarch is welcome to return to the country from an unofficial exile, despite rumblings in that direction.

King Juan Carlos. Agencia EFE

Don Juan Carlos, who left Spain for the Middle East earlier this year amid scandal, is declaring more than 500,000 euros in expenses from money donated by a Mexican businessman and friend.

Separately, Swiss authorities have been investigating $100 million the Saudi Royal Family is said to have gifted the King. Much of the money, media outlets report, ended up in the hands of a former mistress, Corinna Larsen, who has generated controversy for years.

Spanish authorities have been probing whether the money was a kickback for securing a high speed rail development contract between the Saudis and Spanish firms. Media outlets say the King’s attorneys believe that case will be closed because of lack of evidence.

Spanish tax authorities are saying King Juan Carlos does not have accounts abroad, news outlets reported. He is said to be addressing financial issues following his abdication, where he lost his legal immunity.

King Juan Carlos and King Felipe. Spanish Royal Household

Media outlets reported the King’s desire to return and spend Christma with family. The Royal Household and the government have said that’s premature.

The Socialist-led government has been facing pressure from both the right and left on the issue. Progressives in coalition partner Podemos have been attacking the monarchy. And while Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez told the press the Crown was not in danger, monarchists slammed him for not queting Podemos.

King Juan Carlos signing abdication papers in 2014. Spanish Royal Household

King Juan Carlos helped transition Spain from dictatorship to democracy, but even his supporters agree he erred in his financial dealings. His relationship with Larsen contributed to his abdication.

King Felipe Negative For COVID-19

King Felipe has tested negative for the novel coronavirus but will keep taking precautions, the Royal Household said.

The King went into voluntary quarantine in recent days after coming into contact with someone turned out positive for COVID-19.

On Friday His Majesty participated remotely in a meeting of the Union for the Mediterranean, which is based in Barcelona.

King Felipe during his video address, in which he called for more regional unity and dialogue. Spanish Royal Household

Other members of the Royal Family have continued making public appearances despite the public health emergency. They do so masked and following social distancing guidelines.

Queen Sofia last week presided over a ceremony at the Madrid Royal Palace for the Queen Sofia Awards for Ibero-American Poetry.

Spanish Royal Household

Queen Letizia, also last week, helped inaugurate the Tourism Innovation Summit in Seville.

Spanish Royal Household

Queen Letizia is due in Valancia today for the Rei Jaume I 2020 Awards, according to the royal calendar.