THE SPANISH royals are once again at the centre of a corruption scandal amid valiant if futile attempts to bolster their popularity by King Felipe VI. This time the polished Queen has misjudged her position and really dropped her noble husband in a pile of steaming humiliation.
Messages on the journalist-turned-Queen´s phone have been leaked to the press and highlight an embarrassing conversation between Letizia and businessman Javier Lopez Madrid, who is currently entangled in a multi-million Euro bank scandal. This has naturally set social media networks alight with gossip and disdain. Lopez is yet another suspect in a long line of implicated individuals connected to the royals who have been accused of misusing bank funds for private use.
Allegedly executives and board members at Caja Madrid and Bankia used company credit cards from the banks to spend some €12 million on themselves. This is already a banking group that nearly collapsed and initiated the huge bailout from the EU.
The messages alone perhaps seem innocuous but they are the latest in a long line of royal blunders that could set the delicate Royal PR campaign in reverse. King Felipe has been furiously working to portray a new, unblemished monarchy after his father Juan Carlos abdicated in June 2014 amidst scandals of excess and infidelity. More recently the king´s sister Princess Cristina has been at the centre of an embezzlement case and what´s more his country is relentlessly crawling back from a crippling economic crisis.
Felipe was the precious royal son expected to marry a nice Catholic princess — defying his parents for his new love. Letizia is the first Spanish commoner to become queen, a feat even more remarkable when you realise that she was a celebrity journalist with an ex-husband and a live-in boyfriend before meeting the prince. Ring any royal bells? There are certainly similarities between the British royals and the Spanish. Whereas ´commoner´ Kate has taken to her regal role like a prize-winning duck to water her Spanish counterpart has a slightly more tarnished reputation among her cohorts. But perhaps Spain’s King and Queen are more suited to their somewhat dented roles. They are sexier, slightly scandalous, and potentially more interesting than the squeaky-clean Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
Whereas some feel the monarchy has played a very important role, helping the country out of dictatorship and providing stability, others feel its time is up in an out of date institution.
So what will it be? Accept that there are too many ghosts in the closet or continue on the sinking ship of corruption and waning public opinion? Currently they’re clinging on to a precarious crown.