Catalan, Basque Presidents Snub King

King Felipe met with presidents of Spain’s autonomous communities during a conference in La Rioja Friday.

His Majesty was on hand for the meeting between regional and national officials, including Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez.

King Felipe with Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, to his right, and the leaders of Spain’s autonomous communities. Spanish Royal Household

The presidents of the Basque Country and Catalonia, both members of anti-monarchist, nationalist parties, did not attend the meeting, despite pleas from the prime minister.

Catalan President Quim Torra has long been at odds with the central government in Madrid. And Basque leader Iñigo Urkullu said the central government was not complying with certain promises.


Prince, Princess Visit Basque Country

Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia visited the Basque Country today to commemorate Red Cross and Red Crescent Day, where leaders handed out gold medals to various groups.

This year’s event was in Álava to mark the 140th anniversary of the Red Cross there. Royal trips to the Basque Country are notable because many residents, particularly nationalists and separatists, having mixed feelings about the Monarchy.

The Prince also traveled to Bucharest for the UEFA Europe League final between Atlético Madrid and Athletic Bilbao. He traveled with Basque Autonomous Community President Patxi López.

Town Declares King ‘Persona Non Grata’

Nationalist leaders of the small Catalonian town of Berga, near the Franch border, have declared King Juan Carlos unwelcome in their community, the Associated Press is reporting. Council members passed a resolution to that effect in recent days.

Global outlets are linking the news to the King’s recent troubles. However, it is not uncommon for separatists or anti-monarchist groups to do such things. Last year, for example, Basque nationalists removed Don Juan Carlos’ portrait from the San Sebastian council chambers.

While the King is largely responsible for helping communities like Catalonia and the Basque Country regain their autonomy, many people there are still bitter about repression during Franco’s regime.

Meanwhile, leaks and rumors continue in the corruption scandal of Iñaki Urdangarín, the Duke of Palma de Mallorca. El Pais is reporting that ex-partner Diego Torres is gearing up to air the King’s connections to the Duke’s business dealings, which are under the microscope.

Torres’ attorney is denying that his client is asking for money in exchange for silence. The Royal Household appears confident that, however the Duke comes out of the investigation, nobody else in the family will be tied to the situation.

El Pais also profiled Queen Sofia’s sister, Irene of Greece and Denmark, in advance of her upcoming 70th birthday. Princess Irene is often known for her eccentric and down-to-earth attitude.