King To Visit Barcelona After Government Blockade

King Felipe and Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez will visit Barcelona together in the coming days, just weeks after the premier blocked His Majesty from visiting the city.

The government’s decision to prevent the King from visiting Barcelona recently set of a firestorm. Monarchists accused the government of giving in to Catalan nationalists and left-wing radicals.

Those left-wingers, in turn, accused the King of using his voice to lobby against Spain’s elected government. That’s because Don Felipe had expressed his desire to visit Barcelona for a juidicial promotions ceremony.

King Felipe accepting credentials from new ambassadors at the Royal Palace in Madrid. Spanish Royal Household

The government said it didn’t want King Felipe’s presence to coincide with a ruling against former Catalan President Quim Torra. Such a ruling did happen and a government spokeswoman — following days of back and forth — said the King respects Constitutional norms.

Some news outlets are describing the coming visit as an about face or course correction from the government.

King Juan Carlos In The Middle East?

King Juan Carlos may have traveled to Abu Dhabi after announcing his decision to leave Spain last week amid a corruption investigation.

Sources initially said Don Juan Carlos, King Felipe’s father, may have traveled to the Dominican Republic to stay at Casa de Campo resort, which is owned by friends of the former head-of-state.

But more recent reports, including a picture, suggest King Felipe may be in Abu Dhabi. He is close with royals from around the Middle East.

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Image of King Juan Carlos exiting a jet on the BBC News website.

King Juan Carlos has not been indicted and was immune from prosecution during his time as monarch. But authorities in Spain and Switzerland are looking into tens of millions of dollars that may have been mishandled.

Catalan, Basque Presidents Snub King

King Felipe met with presidents of Spain’s autonomous communities during a conference in La Rioja Friday.

His Majesty was on hand for the meeting between regional and national officials, including Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez.

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King Felipe with Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, to his right, and the leaders of Spain’s autonomous communities. Spanish Royal Household

The presidents of the Basque Country and Catalonia, both members of anti-monarchist, nationalist parties, did not attend the meeting, despite pleas from the prime minister.

Catalan President Quim Torra has long been at odds with the central government in Madrid. And Basque leader Iñigo Urkullu said the central government was not complying with certain promises.

King Calls For Unity In Galicia Visit

King Felipe called for “unity and fraternity” during a visit to Santiago de Compostela in Galicia today.

Their Majesties visited the city for the Feast of St. James and made an offering to the country’s patron saint.

Santiago

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Spanish Royal Household

Members of the Spanish Royal Family generally visit Santiago during the Feast of St. James. The King and Queen are also on a tour of the country following the pandemic lockdown.

King, Queen Visit Catalonia

King Felipe and Queen Letizia visited Catalonia last week on their ongoing countrywide tour.

A trip to Catalonia — in this case to a monastery in Tarragona — is notable because of the years-long political instability there. The region has also seen a spike in COVID-19 cases.

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Pro-independence protesters were near the site but police kept them away from the King and Queen.

Royals Hold Palace Ceremony For Victims

The Spanish Royal Family held a ceremony at the Madrid Royal Palace grounds to honor victims of the coronavirus pandemic.

Attending last week in the shadow of Almudena Cathedral were King Felipe, Queen Letizia, Princess Letizia and Infanta Sofia.

homenaje

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Spanish Royal Household

The ceremony of state was one of several from Spain’s royals to honor the pandemic’s victims.

King, Queen Launch Whirlwind Nationwide Tour

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.

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King Felipe and Queen Letizia at the Prado Museum in Madrid to launch the Spain for Sure tourism campaign in June. Spanish Royal Household

They have also visited beaches and walked through numerous communities. Their visits have been informal and meant to connect them with regular people.

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The King and Queen in the Canary Islands. Spanish Royal Household

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.

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The King and Queen in Aragon. Spanish Royal Household

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.

 

Spanish Princesses Thank COVID-19 Workers

Spain’s Princess Leonor, the heir to the throne, and Infanta Sofia took to social media last month to thank medical workers and other professionals on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.

The princesses recorded a video posted on YouTube and on Twitter, part of the Royal Household’s effort to be visible and active during the ongoing lockdown.

Leonor, the Princess of Asturias, and her sister also recorded themselves reading a section of Spanish literary masterpiece Don Quixote. Several personalities participated to mark World Book Day.

Queen Welcomes Michelle Obama

Queen Letizia welcomed U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama to Madrid last week.

Mrs. Obama was on a tour of several countries to promote her Let Girls Learn initiative.

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© Casa de S.M. el Rey

Queen Letizia, who has met Mrs. Obama several times before, spoke at the event, and then welcomed the first lady at the Zarzuela Palace complex.

It is notable that Queen Letizia did not take Mrs.Obama to the more formal areas of the sprawling complex.

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Instead, the two walked the gardens of the secluded residence where the Queen and King Felipe live.

The Obamas are scheduled to visit Spain in the coming weeks.

 

Queen Letizia Breaks With Tradition, Again

Queen Letizia broke with Spanish Royal Family tradition during a flag ceremony for the Civil Guard in the Basque Country last week.

© Casa de S.M. el Rey
© Casa de S.M. el Rey

Her Majesty decided against wearing a more formal, black dress and mantilla on her hair as queens have done for such ceremonies, and as Queen Sofia did in the picture below.

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

Queen Letizia, instead, wore the same dress she wore for her proclamation.

© Casa de S.M. el Rey
© Casa de S.M. el Rey

Even though ardent monarchists have not been fond of the breaks in tradition, many Spaniards and media outlets welcome the changes.

© Casa de S.M. el Rey
© Casa de S.M. el Rey

Recently she and King Felipe dressed down to attend a Madrid scientific monologue contest, above, and the King celebrated Spanish victory in a basketball tournament, below.

© Casa de S.M. el Rey
© Casa de S.M. el Rey