|The Ex-King with his 'close friend' taken some time ago...|
It must be hard being Royalty in Spain. A dynasty returned to the front line by Francisco Franco himself. If Juan Carlos I was popular at the onset, and more so following his defence of democracy following the attempted coup of Antonio Tejero (who is still going strong by the way) and others back in 1981 (Wiki), then his later exploits have seriously dimmed that zeal among his erstwhile subjects. While much could be said for his good points, the business with the elephants in Botswana, the girlfriend on the side in the Mallorca palace and now, the apparent revelations of his commissions and business dealings have put his popularity at an all time low. No wonder, we might think, that he abdicated when he did. Indeed, the future of the Bourbons is now held by Felipe VI, who, to give him his due, has proved to be an able and blameless Monarch.
Why would Juan Carlos need all this extra cash – doesn’t he have enough?
The Media is divided on the news regarding a recently-discovered recording made by the Royal companion Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein, made in 2015, with a copy in the hands of El Español here. They show a man looking to make a few deals and to disguise them behind straw figures (here). But what does all this mean for the Monarchy today?
‘His father is a liability, his mother is missing, his brother-in-law, in prison, his sisters cannot develop a public agenda. And with the queen, things are as they are’. This is the devastating portrait painted from the monarch's circle: the Royal Family has been liquidated as an instrument of representation and Philip VI carries the weight of the crown alone’, says El Español here. There is a strong republican tradition in Spain and the story has plenty more mileage, even though the government says it will not be debating the ‘Corinne case’ and limits itself to saying that ‘it in no way affects the current Head of State’. El Diario thinks otherwise and suggests ‘we are in the midst of a new operation to save the monarchy’.
Félix Sanz Roldán, the head of the secret service CNI, has stepped forward to offer explanations behind closed doors before a parliamentary committee on the alleged threats received by the ex-king's embittered companion (who denies the whole story here).
To sum up: Felipe VI is without doubt a popular figure in Spain, but he stands alone.