Are the King and Queen Estranged?

The British press has confirmed that King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia will not be celebrating their Golden Wedding anniversary.

The Daily Mail, citing Royal Household sources, said no private or public parties are planned.

The news appears to be getting more attention abroad than in Spain, where the media often refrain from being too critical of the Monarch, especially when it comes to private issues.

King and Queen wedding anniversary on May 14.

Global media outlets have been reporting allegations that King Juan Carlos has been with many other women. And Spanish media noted the Queen’s short hospital visit when her husband was recovering from hip replacement surgery.

 

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Prince Felipe Supports Repsol Amid Takeover

Last month Prince Felipe appeared to sound off on Argentina’s nationalization of a subsidiary of Spanish oil giant Repsol.

During the inauguration of the company’s refinery expansion in Cartagena, Spain, the Prince of Asturias thanked Repsol “for all it does and has done — which is a lot — for the welfare of numerous countries.”

He also expressed support for workers in and outside of Spain. The comments came just hours after Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner said her country would take a majority stake in Repsol’s YPF.

© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos

The refinery project represents the most significant industrial investment in Spanish history. The Prince said the facility would be among Europe’s finest and most technologically advanced.

Will Duke Admit Wrongdoing in Corruption Scandal?

King Juan Carlos’ son-in-law, Iñaki Urdangarín, the Duke of Palma, is in negotiations with prosecutors for a possible guilty plea amid a flurry of corruption allegations, El Pais and other Spanish news outlets are reporting.

In a recent deposition, Urdangarín put the blame on former associate Diego Torres. Both are accused of stealing public funds through their work with the Noos Institute, a non-profit organization.

But pointing the finger at Torres backfired, with the Duke’s former right hand man making allegations about the King’s involvement in helping with his son-in-law’s business affairs.

The King had once been seen as the one who warned Urdangarín to stay away from lucrative dealings.

Now, there is talk of Urdangarín working on a truce with Torres and negotiating with prosecutors to pay back millions of euros. While a guilty plea may hurt the monarchy, it may be less painful that a trial or jail sentence.

The corruption scandal, plus the King’s hunting trip to Botswana, has shocked people around the world who thought of the Spanish monarchy as a model for other countries with royal families.

Don Juan Carlos’ popularity, credibility and work in creating a democratic Spain gave him wide latitude to travel and get involved with politics and business. It appears that the Spanish head of state will be on a much tighter leash from now on.

Royal Highnesses Step In for Majesties

The press and the Spanish public are making much of Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia presiding over the traditional lunch at the Royal Palace in Madrid yesterday to commemorate the Cervantes Prize and its winner.

While the King and Queen usually lead the event, recent events have contributed to the Prince and Princess of Asturias taking over, at least for this year.

Prince Felipe stepping in for his father
© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos

Prince Felipe called it “special and exceptional” for their Majesties to be missing the event, but also the prize’s winner, Chilean Poet Nicanor Parra, because of delicate health.

The Cervantes award, named after the author of Don Quixote, includes a 125,000 euro check. It is among the most prestigious literary prizes in the world.

Click here for video from RTVE. Click here for a slideshow from El Pais.

Their Royal Highnesses will also preside over the award ceremony at the University of Alcalá on Monday.

Separately, it appears that Infanta Elena, Duchess of Lugo, is presiding over more events on behalf of the Royal Family. This week she accompanied her mother, the Queen, to the MAPFRE Foundation awards. MAPFRE is a Spanish international insurance company.

She also presided over the first Paralympic Evening in advance of the London games. Infanta Elena is the president of honor of the Spanish committee.

© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos

 

King Juan Carlos Apologizes for Hunting Trip

Doctors have decided to release King Juan Carlos from the hospital after his recent hip replacement surgery, the Royal Household said today. They say he is enjoying “satisfactory” recovery.

Recognizing the fallout from his huntring trip last week, His Majesty apologized for his actions.

© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos

The King said: “I am hoping to return to my obligations. I am very sorry. I have made a mistake and it will never happen again. Thank you for your concern.”

 

Talk of Abdication Returns

Some Spanish politicians on the political left are raising the possibility of abdication amid controversy over King Juan Carlos’ hunting trip to Botswana last week, where he suffered a hip fracture.

The head of Madrid’s Socialist Party, Tomás Gómez, said such a trip was not what many Spaniards expected of their Head of State amid economic turmoil, as reported by El Pais.

Perhaps unlike other monarchies, people admire the Bourbon royals but also expect them to work hard and be much more like them. The trend comes from a long history of debate over whether Spain should be a monarchy or a republic.

The Socialist leader also said, “The moment has come for the Royal Household to consider, in this case the Head of State, whether to decide between public obligations and an abdication that will allow for a different life.”

Talk of abdication has come and gone over the years amid the 74-year-old Monarch’s somewhat troubled health. The Associated Press has this story about the debate.

Other politicians also see it as a mistake for the King, a long hunting and sailing aficionado, to be seen photographed in front of an elephant amid high unemployment.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy visited the King in the hospital. Government and Palace sources say Rajoy had been informed, as always, about the King’s activities, according to various press reports.