Former Huddersfield residents BRIAN and ELAINE HAYHURST have lived in Spain for a number of years and reveal that the Spanish Royal family – unlike our own – has very little to celebrate. Brian writes
As the magnificent Jubilee celebrations draw to a close with millions showing admiration and loyalty world wide for Elizabeth II, here the Spanish Royal Family can not wait for this year to end.
In fact, they would probably wish to quote our Queen when, in a speech in November 1992 she used the term ‘annus horribilis’ (a horrible year).
The Spanish royal family has always been in the public eye but rarely talked about, but now several key members are rarely out of the Spanish media at present following a series of embarrassing stories.
These have included the King’s elephant shooting trip and revelations of a blonde ‘unofficial companion’; The King and Queen’s eldest grandson shooting himself in the foot and their son-in-law, Inaki Urdangarni, is being investigated for embezzlement and tax evasion. It has become open season on the once untouchable Royals.
Over the years we have lived here Elaine and myself have observed that, in general, the Spanish people have always been very pro the Royal Family since Juan Carlos was proclaimed King in 1975 following years of suppression under the dictatorship of Franco.
The new King said in his first message to the nation: "I want to restore democracy and become King of all Spaniards without exception."
Little did he know what was to come in 2012!
The biggest event which caused most outrage recently was King Juan Carlos decision to go on a privately arranged safari elephant hunt in Botswana but during the hunt – from which photographs flashed around the world of him holding a high powered rifle in front of a dead elephant – he later tripped and fell, causing a triple fracture.
News of the accident caused two-fold alarm around the country. On the one hand concern for the health of the head of state and on the other, indignation that the King was out hunting at an estimated cost of 45,000 euros, while his country is suffering the worst ever financial crisis.
There has also been uproar that the King is Honorary President of the World Wildlife Fund, an organisation designated to protecting endangered animals such as elephants!
The 74-year-old monarch was rushed back to a Madrid hospital where he underwent an emergency hip replacement operation. On leaving he made an unprecedented apology to the nation via the masses of waiting press saying: "I am very sorry. I was wrong. It won’t happen again."