Spanish monarchy in peril?

PIERRE-PHILIPPE/AFP/Getty Images Looks like Spain’s royal family would have been a valiant contender for FP‘s list of monarchies in peril. King Juan Carlos, who has been atop the royal throne since the monarchy’s creation in 1975, has found himself in the hot seat a few times as of late. Last month, Carlos finally relented to critics and ...

598932_071030_carlos_05.jpg
598932_071030_carlos_05.jpg

PIERRE-PHILIPPE/AFP/Getty Images

Looks like Spain's royal family would have been a valiant contender for FP's list of monarchies in peril. King Juan Carlos, who has been atop the royal throne since the monarchy's creation in 1975, has found himself in the hot seat a few times as of late. Last month, Carlos finally relented to critics and agreed to hire an auditor to disclose how the royal family spends its annual €8 million budget. Then, Spanish satire magazine El Juevez was pulled off the shelves by officials after several cartoon covers poked fun at the monarch, inciting debates over freedom of speech in the country. Most recently, Catalan nationalists set pictures of King Juan Carlos and his Queen Sofia aflame. While the king's role is mostly ceremonial in practice, there have also been calls by a Catalan political party for Prime Minister José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero to take over the position of commander in chief of the Spanish Armed Forces.

So what does the almost 70-year old monarch have to say about this? In a rare speech this week, Carlos stepped up to defend his crown:

PIERRE-PHILIPPE/AFP/Getty Images

Looks like Spain’s royal family would have been a valiant contender for FP‘s list of monarchies in peril. King Juan Carlos, who has been atop the royal throne since the monarchy’s creation in 1975, has found himself in the hot seat a few times as of late. Last month, Carlos finally relented to critics and agreed to hire an auditor to disclose how the royal family spends its annual €8 million budget. Then, Spanish satire magazine El Juevez was pulled off the shelves by officials after several cartoon covers poked fun at the monarch, inciting debates over freedom of speech in the country. Most recently, Catalan nationalists set pictures of King Juan Carlos and his Queen Sofia aflame. While the king’s role is mostly ceremonial in practice, there have also been calls by a Catalan political party for Prime Minister José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero to take over the position of commander in chief of the Spanish Armed Forces.

So what does the almost 70-year old monarch have to say about this? In a rare speech this week, Carlos stepped up to defend his crown:

[The monarchy] has provided the longest period of stability and prosperity that Spain has ever experienced under democratic rule.

I wouldn’t expect any sort of mass popular revolution coming out of the Iberian peninsula anytime soon. Opinion polls show that a good chunk of the public still favors the royal family. If anything, recent attacks on the king have given the conservative opposition another reason to attack Zapatero and his socialist government, chiding them for not doing enough stick up for his royal highness.

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