Monarch of the People?


A look at the anti-monarchist sentiments flourishing in Spain by Juana Belén Gutiérrez de Mendoza.



Growing up in Spain in the Nineties and early Noughties, society taught you two main principles: ETA are evil murderers but at least they call before they bomb something, and King Juan Carlos I brought in democracy after the Franco dictatorship.I remember being excited when Prince Felipe married Letizia Ortiz, a commoner, three days after my 12th birthday. Now, ten years later, he’s been crowned king and has promised a “united, egalitarian society with a monarchy fit for the times”.


The current Spanish Royal Family have always been portrayed as humble and down-to-earth. The Prince of Asturias prize is as important as a Nobel. Queen Sofia is very good at travelling around to talk about world peace and Queen Letizia is known for campaigning for women’s right and health, as well as announcing winners of fashion contests. Only since the recession have journalists (and citizens) been interested in uncovering the elephant hunting, blonde lovers and other excesses that have largely come at the tax payers’ expense. The first blow to the Borbons landed in 2011 when Princess Cristina’s husband, the retired handball player Iñaki Urdangarín, was accused of tax evasion, and linked to a corruption case in their duchy in Palma – along with several politicians from the PP (the “Popular” Party, equivalent to the Tories with an ultra-catholic twist). Judge Castro, in charge of the case, has delayed setting a trial date until after Felipe’s coronation. Continue reading

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