A History that Unravels the Spanish Monarchy
Since the beginning of the Transition, the Spanish monarchy has been unusually comfortable with media coverage. Unlike other European crowns, which have been subjected to critical media scrutiny, the Bourbons lived for decades in media harmony and unanimous support from the Spanish press.
But the winds have changed. The king emeritus, now in virtual exile in Abu Dhabi, has accumulated scandals that have burst the bubble. Until now, Felipe VI and Queen Letizia have maintained an apparent intangibility, but recent rumors and attacks have succeeded in piercing that barrier.
The Royal Sewers
The recent accusations of the journalist Jaime Peñafiel, collected in his latest book ‘Letizia and I’, have generated concern in the Zarzuela. The statements of Jaime del Burgo, the queen’s ex-cousin, about an alleged romantic relationship with Letícia Ortiz since 2000, have caused rumblings in the media sewers.
Despite the fact that the Spanish media have not reacted, the foreign press, such as the British Daily Mail, has highlighted this story with sensationalism.
Secrets Familiars i Repercussions
Jaime Peñafiel, in a recent interview, has deepened his claims, hinting at the queen’s fertility problems and complex family ties that would have led to Erika Ortiz’s suicide. This has generated a backlash, with El Mundo firing the journalist after two decades of collaboration.
In Palau, the tension is palpable, and Peñafiel’s accusations resonate like a media sewer explosion that has affected the image of the royal family.
The Wound of Abdication and the Transformation of the Political Landscape
Peñafiel has not overlooked the abdication of the king emeritus in 2014, which was seen as a traumatic episode by some supporters of the Crown. Conspiracy theories of a palatine coup to slow the growth of the 15-M movement and the resurgence of republicanism have marked a before and an after.
With the post-process underway and Pedro Sánchez consolidating with pacts with independence, reactionary attacks against Letícia, presented as the heterodox element of the royal family, arise.
A New Head for the Royal House
In the midst of the crisis generated by Peñafiel, there has been an expected change at the head of the Royal House. Jaime Alfonsín has given up his place to Camilo Villarino, a diplomat with an amazing career.
Villarino, with experience as chief of staff to several foreign ministers, represents an unexpected turn. An official without a card, with an international network and a remarkable ability to manage the affairs of the State, assumes a key role in protecting the Royal House from the stormy winds that surround it.