Iñaki Urdangarin is the King and Queen of Spain’s son-in-law. This retired athlete married the Infanta Cristina, and they have four bright-looking children, three boys and a girl. The media seem determined to destroy him, alleging fraudulent activities. The bemused public is not quite sure what to think, though the newspapers are busy telling them what to think.
It seems the King and Queen disagree on this subject – perhaps on others too. The Queen is an excellent mother, fond of her daughter Cristina and her choice of husband. She is also an adoring grandmother to those handsome children. The King’s advisers have told him it would be best to remove the figure of Iñaki U. from the Wax Museum in Madrid. This seems infantile but they have done it before, kicking out a model of the Infanta Elena’s husband Marichalar when she divorced him.
The right-wing papers are clamouring for an end to the Spanish monarchy, just as furiously as the left-wing ones, one does not quite know why. Monarchy (as Head of State) is far cheaper than Presidency. The Spanish Borbónes cost Spain a minute fraction of what any French President costs France. For a start, the Elysée Palace maintains a fleet of official cars with two chauffeurs each.
The private cars at Buckingham Palace belong to the Queen and members of her family. The Queen does have a few official cars, elderly Rolls Royces and Daimlers that should have gone to Lord Montagu’s automobile museum years ago. She does not have a royal yacht (now). She maintains her private houses out of her purse. She also maintains a royal flush of relations, except those who work for their living, and do well out of it, like designer/carpenter Lord Linley.
The present Spanish Monarchy became official after the death of General Franco. The King’s father (Conde de Barcelona) was no friend of the Dictator, and renounced his right to the throne in favour of his son don Juan-Carlos. Most thinking Spaniards would not care much if they lived in a Republic, but all thinking Spaniards would prefer their new republic to be like France’s, or Italy’s for that matter. Spain’s experience of not one but two Marxist republics in the 20th century was only enjoyed by those citizens who wanted Spain to become one of the Soviet Socialist Republics. Negotiation to this end by officers of the 2nd Republic was going on when the other half of the population decided to back a determined effort by senior Army officers to prevent the sovietization of Spain. This brought about the savage and abominable Spanish Civil War (QV.) and ‘The Two Spains’, an unhealthy and self-damaging duality which the late Zapatero government did its best to re-introduce.
If Don Juan-Carlos were to abdicate now, his health (none too good) would improve, and his son the Prince of Asturias, married to an attractive and intelligent non-royal woman, would have no alternative but to become monarch and consort. Prince Felipe is popular around the world, has done plenty of military service, speaks several languages including Catalan (MOST important these days), and, perhaps most importantly, has two healthy daughters, with more children undoubtedly on the way. He has been brought up since babyhood to be a Borbón king. If kings and queens in modern times are nothing more than a Head of their nation’s public relations, Felipe fits the bill in every way.
The King of Spain is approaching the middle of his seventies. He has lived and played hard, and it shows. His conscience tells him that to abdicate during an almost permanent economic crisis would be unwise. The Spanish people want to trust their leaders enough to hope for a normal European-style republic, if there is to be one. The Soviet Empire has vanished. Only Cuba remains of that crumbled and stagy piece of masonry, and when Raoul and Fidel finally shuffle off this mortal coil, Cuba will become, in a remarkably short time a standard Caribbean island again. Let us hope that certain groups within Spain are not permitted to make another Cuba out of Spain: and a Merry Christmas to the many loyal followers of this blogsite.