King Felipe and Queen Letizia this month led the country’s second state ceremony for victims of the COVID-19 pandemic and those continuing to suffer and sacrifice because of the disease.
Their Majesties presided over the ceremony at the Madrid Royal Palace and awarded four posthumous Grand Crosses of Civil Merit to health workers who died caring for pandemic patients.
Members of Spain’s Royal Family have been active in response to the pandemic following concern King Felipe had been to slow to speak about the crisis. He first delivered televised remarks to the nation in mid-March 2020.
King Felipe and Queen Letizia have been crisscrossing Spain for the past several week during a delicate time for the country and the Royal Family.
Their Majesties worked to be active during the pandemic lockdown and have been visible during the reopening, including visiting several museums and cultural attractions.
They have also visited beaches and walked through numerous communities. Their visits have been informal and meant to connect them with regular people.
Spaniards, fed up with corruption, the Catalan crisis, recession and scandal, have taken out their frustrations on the governing class — including the Monarchy. Despite the Royal Family’s efforts, many people see them as not having done enough to fight COVID-19.
Then there’s King Juan Carlos, who is embroiled in a financial scandal related to $100 million gift from the Saudis, some of which may have ended up in the hands of a former lover.
King Felipe has disconnected himself from his father financially and discussions are ongoing about the elder monarch’s status within the Royal Family.
Princess Maria Teresa of Bourbon-Parma, a distant relative of King Felipe, died of COVID-19 in late March. She was the world’s first royal to die of the disease.
Princess Maria Teresa, who died in Paris, was a professor, feminist and political activist. Known as the “red princess,” Doña Maria Teresa was a Carlist, a descendent of an alternative pretender for the Spanish throne.