King Felipe last week marked the 40th anniversary of the failed coup that almost derailed Spain’s nascent Democracy in 1981.
His Majesty presided over a small ceremony at the Congress of Deputies with Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez and other top officials.
King Felipe recalled his father, King Juan Carlos, being instrumental in putting down the coup. He called military leaders and, after delays, was able to make a televised address to call for respecting the new constitution.
The coup involved a Civil Guard officer, Antono Tejero, storming the Congress with a small crew and holding lawmakers hostage. Plotters also took over state television and were poised to begin taking over the country.
King Felipe was a child when the events happened. King Juan Carlos made sure he was present during some of the toughest moments so the then-heir would learn from the developments.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.