Barcelona has never been a city of courtiers or subjects of the House of Bourbon. Few Catalans are present in the court in Madrid, which revolves around ministries, barracks and royal receptions. Nether have they achieved many successes. Ultimately, they end up being seen as dubious entrepreneurs due to the fact that they are Catalan: suspected of being insufficiently loyal to the Crown or ridiculed for their subordinate status.
A large part of Catalonia, which at one time was supportive of the present king’s father, ceased to have respect for the successor to the Bourbon crown on 3 October. King Felipe entered the Palau de la Música on Sunday night between jeers, cassolades [a form of popular protest involving banging pots and pans] and the Himne de Riego, Spain’s former republican anthem written as a protest against the absolutist rule of King Ferdinand VII.
The situation was somewhat incongruous. The opening ceremony of the largest gathering of the tech industry in the world with speeches in support of collaboration between governments, in favour of flexibility and the capacity of businesses to adapt, entrepreneurship and the freedom to face the future. 21st century words mixed with 19th century political primitivism. Outside, calls for freedom for political prisoners and the return of Catalonia’s institutions, the rejection of a military monarchy and police charges by the Catalan police force on the orders of Spain’s Ministry of the Interior. King Felipe could have been the king of a confederal Spain. Instead he will rule over the shrinking of Spanish democracy and the humiliation of the Catalan political majority. Both a personal and a political failure. But there is no need to worry: none of those around him will say a word. Everything’s in order, Your Majesty.