In a country gripped by anxiety after falling victim to a pandemic that was unheard of only a few weeks ago and whose spread calls into question our ability to avert the collapse of the healthcare system, the big political news story came in while reporters and the general public were watching the COVID-19 public health crisis unfold.
On a Sunday evening marked by the pandemic and the newly-declared state of emergency, Spain’s King Felipe put out a statement —a firewall of sorts— with which he aimed to distance himself from his father, the former King Juan Carlos. King Felipe announced that he will be taking away his father’s allowance and he will “renounce the inheritance” that the King Emeritus intended to leave him and had been amassed by illegal means.
I would like to emphasise that King Felipe intends to renounce his shady cash inheritance, but not the crown which put him at the apex of the State. The King of Spain claims not to know that he is the “second beneficiary” of a €65m fund in the name of his father which his Saudi cousins set up for him in a tax haven.
The crown’s virus has been spreading since 2015, when a conversation was leaked between Juan Carlos’ last lover and José Luis Villarejo, a former police commissioner gone rogue who used to do dirty work for some in the Spanish banking sector.
King Felipe’s throne is wobbling. In his communiqué he admits that he was informed of the facts he claimed no knowledge of by a British law firm on 5 March 2019. He kept it under wraps for nearly one year. Does the Spanish monarchy need a full year to pen a statement intended to muddy the waters?