The Spanish monarchy, which was already bearing embarrassment due to corruption allegations against former King Juan Carlos, has been rocked by another controversy.
It all started with King Felipe and Queen Letizia’s recent visit to Barcelona, which came as a surprise since it was made public only upon their arrival. The secrecy hasn’t gone down well with the leader of Spain’s main opposition party, who has claimed that the Spanish government attempted to hide the royals during their controversial visit to Catalonia.
The Spanish royal court usually publishes a diary every Friday, listing all of the couple’s public engagements for the upcoming week. However, the trip to Barcelona on December 21st, during which the couple presented the Cervantes Prize for Literature in the Castilian language to poet and architect Joan Margarit, wasn’t registered in the diary.
After news of the royal visit became public, Pablo Casado, leader of the Popular Party, the main conservative grouping in Spain, took to his social media account to level some strong allegations against the ruling socialist coalition government.
Casado alleged that the government is “capable of even hiding the King and Queen” when they travel to Catalonia in order not to “upset their independence-seeking colleagues.”
The politician was referring to the unrest that emerged in Barcelona in 2017, which brought the royal family under fire after King Felipe took several days to speak publicly about the situation.
The controversy started due to a referendum on independence that was signed that year, which also saw a majority vote to break away in a poll declared illegal beforehand by the then government, run at the time by the Popular Party. The vote was broken up in places by the Spanish police, reports Royal Central.
The royals’ tours to Catalonia have become controversial since then. Even when the royal couple was touring Spain earlier this year to show their support for the rebuild after the coronavirus-induced lockdown was revoked, they kept their visit to Catalonia low-key with just a stop at an isolated monastery.
Meanwhile, King Felipe is also reportedly facing pressure to directly address the controversy around his father, King Juan Carlos I, who went into self-imposed exile to the UAE in early August to escape growing scandal surrounding his financial irregularities.