King Juan Carlos is slowly but surely returning to his duties while recovering from his recent hip replacement surgery. It also appears that the controversy over his elephant hunting trip is cooling down.
This week His Majesty met with the foreign minister for the United Arab Emirates, High Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, at the Zarzuela Palace. The UAE is inaugurating a new embassy in Spain and the King enjoys good relations with Middle Eastern royals.
Don Juan Carlos also met with Víctor García de la Concha, the new director of the Cervantes Institute, a non-profit organization that promotes the study and teaching of the Spanish language.
El Pais, one of Spain’s leading newspapers and often used as a source for this blog, has published several articles analyzing the Royal Family’s situation in Spain.
Many influential politicians and business leaders, the paper says several factors are affecting the Monarchy’s popularity — King Juan Carlos’ health, his recent trip to Botswana, his son-in-law facing corruption allegations, the economy, leftist movements and the fact that many young people don’t remember the the institution’s importance in establishing democracy.
One article looks at the King’s situation, another reviews Prince Felipe’s role and another reviews the Queen’s recent actions, including only spending a few minutes visiting her husband at the hospital.
Socialist leader Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba said he would have told the King not to go hunting in Africa. The comments come amid a debate over how much control the elected Government should have over the Monarch’s activities.
Still, despite other leftist comments against the Monarchy, the Socialist leadership is staying loyal.
Meanwhile, as planned, Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia stepped in for Don Juan Carlos in giving out this year’s Cervantes prize at the University of Alcalá. Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra was born in Alcalá in the 1500’s.