King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia were in the European Parliament over the weekend honoring late German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, a towering figure in the continent.
Their Majesties arriving in the European Parliament. © Casa de S.M. el Rey
The Spanish Royal Household has increasingly used King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia, King Felipe’s parents, as emissaries to important events. Both are close to numerous world leaders.
The King and Queen sitting behind former U.S. President Bill Clinton, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and new French President Emmanuel Macron. © Casa de S.M. el Rey
Kohl was a major booster of the European Union and Don Juan Carlos helped shepherd Spain joining the block.
The Royal Household excluded King Juan Carlos from an event at the Spanish Congress to commemorate the country’s transition to Democracy, according to several media outlets.
King Felipe and Queen Letizia with Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, to the right, and Congress Speaker Ana Pastor, in blue. © Casa de S.M. el Rey
King Juan Carlos, King Felipe’s father, helped steer Spain from dictatorship to Democracy.
But, according to media outlets, the Royal Household thought it was out of protocol for Don Juan Carlos to attend the ceremonies.
King Felipe during remarks a the Congress of Deputies Chamber. © Casa de S.M. el Rey
Media outlets reported that the elder King expressed his dismay about the snub to friends.
King Felipe won praise but also skepticism earlier this month when he attended a charity bullfight in Madrid.
Aside from people who oppose the activity, aficionados wondered whether the King — who got a standing ovation — really stands with them.
King Felipe at the famed Las Ventas bullring in Madrid. © Casa de S.M. el Rey
Don Felipe has not been as keen on attending bullfights compared to his father, King Juan Carlos, and his sister, Infanta Elena.
Both of them were helping open a new winery in the Basque Country during the Madrid bullfight.
King Juan Carlos and Infanta Elena. © Casa de S.M. el Rey
Conventional wisdom says Queen Letizia is not partial to bullfighting. Neither is Queen Sofia, an animal rights advocate.
King Felipe with bullfighters. © Casa de S.M. el Rey
The late Duchess of Alba was also an animal rights advocate, but an ardent supporter of bullfighting as a Spanish tradition.
King Juan Carlos is in Cuba this week to attend funeral services for former Cuban President Fidel Castro.
Spain has long had ties with its former colony and, now that the island is becoming more open, Spain wants to secure its position there.
Don Juan Carlos has been a point-person for King Felipe in Latin America. Don Felipe used to be that point-person when he was Prince of Asturias.
King Juan Carlos with Cuban President Raúl Castro. © Casa de S.M. el Rey
King Felipe, meanwhile, has spent recent days on a state visit to Portugal, a key Spanish ally.
The King and Queen have dinner with the Portuguese president. © Casa de S.M. el Rey
King Felipe and Queen Letizia have made several stops in the country and met with several local and national leaders.
The King and Queen before Don Felipe addresses the Portuguese Assembly. © Casa de S.M. el Rey
Tomorrow the King is scheduled to meet with the president of the European Commission in Madrid.
A French documentary about the life and times of King Juan Carlos is making news in Spain.
Of particular interest has been an anecdote concerning former Spanish Generalissimo Francisco Franco.
Don Juan Carlos, who succeeded Franco, said the dictator took his hand before death and made him promise to ensure Spanish unity.
King Juan Carlos taking oath of office in 1976. © EFE
Even though King Juan Carlos succeeded Franco, he took advantage of the dictator’s death to re-establish democracy in Spain.
Spanish public television giant TVE helped produce the documentary but is not airing it in the country, calling it out of date.
King Juan Carlos speaking during the 1991 Ibero-American summit. © EFE
Don Juan Carlos abdicated the Spanish throne in favor of his son, King Felipe, who has now been head of state for more than a year.
Queen Letizia addressed the recent terrorist attacks in Paris during a speech in Madrid today.
“Mother Teresa used to say that peace began with a smile,” said the Queen.
“It’s difficult to smile today but we will do it. It’s the first step for everything.”
© Casa de S.M. el Rey
Earlier this weekend King Felipe and Queen Letizia signed a condolence book at the French Embassy in Madrid.
King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia also stopped to pay their respects.
It’s the second time in recent days that King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia are seen together.
King Felipe last week stripped his sister Infanta Cristina of her Duchess of Palma title because of the corruption scandal embroiling her and her husband.
King Felipe arriving at the Royal Cavalry Armory in Seville. © Casa de S.M. el Rey
King Juan Carlos made infanta Cristina a duchess when she married Iñaki Urdangarin. But authorities accuse Urdangarin of using a non-profit company for personal gain. And the Infanta has stood by her husband.
© Casa de S.M. el Rey
The Royal Household under Don Juan Carlos had already stripped the couple of royal duties and had urged Infanta Cristina to renounce her dynastic rights. She has refused.
Infanta Cristina and her husband.
Events have moved fast. Infanta Cristina was in Spain recently with the rest of her family for Prince Kardam’s funeral.
King Juan Carlos during an international business promotion meeting in Madrid. © Casa de S.M. el Rey
However, now the dispute is over whether the King stripped Infanta Cristina of her title or she resigned it. She sent him a letter doing so at around the same time.
Queen Sofia heading a meeting on mental health. © Casa de S.M. el Rey
Infanta Cristina is now living and working in Geneva. Her mother, Queen Sofia, serves as a bridge between family members.