Newspaper Features King’s Troubles

The New York Times and its International Herald Tribune analyzed King Juan Carlos’ place in modern Spain and recent controversies relating to the Monarchy.

The feature contrasted pro-republican feelings, discomfort about the Royal Family’s unknown wealth, the controversial hunting trip to Botswana and the country’s economic troubles with the King’s role as Spain’s top booster.

The Monarch, for example, helped secure a multi-billion dollar high speed rail contract in Saudi Arabia.

The king is widely valued in business circles for acting as a sometime deal maker and economic ambassador for his nation, but how he has amassed his substantial personal wealth remains secret. The Spanish royal family’s wealth has been estimated at up to $2.3 billion, a sum that supporters contend was inflated by the inclusion of government properties.

King Juan Carlos inaugurating new port terminal in Barcelona. It was another chance to meet with Catalonian President Artur Mas.
© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos

The King, who was recently in New York, stressed the need to promote Spanish trade as a means to improve the Spanish economy. He also spoke about his own role in the country’s future.

“The monarchy will continue as long as the people want a monarchy,” the king said on a swing through New York last week, part of a palace strategy to meet with top opinion makers to help promote confidence in Spain.

Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia in the Canary Islands.

But while the newspaper described the King as a non-ruling Monarch, it’s important to remember his role in public life, which in many ways goes beyond that of other European royals.

If they’re paying for a Monarchy, people in Spain want its members to do something other than ribbon cutting at events.

While Queen Elizabeth refrains from expressing an opinion about anything, King Juan Carlos, for example, penned a public letter recently expressing his views, albeit indirectly, about Catalonian calls for independence.

The Royal Palace has said such communications will become increasingly common.

Queen Sofia at the Royal Theater.

Click here to read the NYT story.