Do I really care who is King of Spain?

No. But it seems we have to live with monarchies, or presidents. And presidents are pretty dire, it has to be said. Monarchies may cost the tax-payer money, but who would really want the endless round of presidential elections?

I have never understood the American system. It leaves me totally befuddled and as soon as one president is installed, the next round of elections is already being talked up.

As heads of state go, I can live with a monarchy. Depending on the monarch. They are easier to criticise too. The public has no say about their appointment, so we can cheerfully sound off about their appalling dress sense, their views, their education, their relationships, whether or not they drink or smoke. Just, everything they do, is put under the microscope. Not a job I’d like. Too much dressing up and speaking to idiots. Not enough dressing down and speaking to animals. And not a job you can walk away from – or can you?

In the space of just over a year, we’ve had three royal resignations in Europe. Firstly in the Netherlands where they make a habit of it, then Belgium, and now Spain. Although the pope is technically sovereign of the Vatican City, he’s hardly royalty, so we’ll leave him out of the equation.

All three are in their seventies. Meanwhile, the good ship Elizabeth continues on at nearly 90 and after 60 years on the throne. Quite right too. If my heir was Charles, I’d be unwilling to abdicate. The other monarchs don’t come close in terms of longevity, 20 ish in Belgium, 33 in the Netherlands, and nearly 40 for Juan Carlos.

So why do they all do it? In JC’s case, his elephant hunting trip did him no favours, at a reputed cost of some €10,000 a day, rumours of a few extra marital flings, and his son-in-law’s interesting financial deals.

Urdangarin, the husband of the Infanta Cristina, younger daughter of Juan Carlos and Sophia, and Duchess of Mallorca, has not only been charged with embezzlement, but like his father-in-law, has been associated with, yes, extra-marital flings. Royal privilege even for the in-laws? A best-selling biography of Sophia told of how alone she felt, and given her husband’s alleged infidelities, how they’d not shared a bed since 1976.

So, we have the handsome Felipe and the lovely Letizia. Got to love the hypocrisy of a Catholic country. Not only does the heir to the throne marry a divorcee – it’s OK says the Catholic church because it was only a civil ceremony so she wasn’t really married at all – but she’s rumoured to have had an abortion (when it was still illegal in Spain) before she married Prince Charming, and wanted all the paperwork destroyed. I don’t know. I merely repeat gossip and rumour.

However, here is something factual. Three years ago, when Charlie and Camel visited Spain, note, deliberately avoiding Gib to avoid any contentious diplomatic issues, dear Felipe raised the ‘historic bilateral dispute’ and hoped progress could be made towards resolving it.

I think he meant, Spain lost Gib, whine, cry, moan, and we want it back. Why is it a historic dispute? I mean the UK hasn’t disputed that Gib is a sovereign territory. Nor has Gib. Only whingey moany Spain. Note, Felipe, there are three parties in this one. It is not bilateral, but trilateral. Would any other country get away with this perpetual intimidation? (Argentina comes to mind of course).

But you know, this is not correct etiquette. Royals do not raise politically sensitive subjects when hosting other royals. Much as I dislike Charles, he avoided the barbed comment. Or maybe he shouldn’t have done. Perhaps his naughty father might have said, ‘From one Philip to another, or one family member to another, (sixth cousins twice removed or something via the Greek side, let alone anything else) why don’t you wogs just keep your hands off Gibraltar and where’s the fucking gin?’

This story about the gin is based on a Saudi tale, it’s only third hand so it must be true, but PP was meant to have asked in such forthright terms for the gin, which had been specially shipped in for him.

So based on that one diplomatic faux pas (Felipe’s not Philip’s), I have no high hopes of Felipe. He can only improve. Doubt he will.

If he leaves the elephants alone, keeps his shagging around discrete, and doesn’t stick his nose into politics he may be passable. The world has bred a load of young boring unthinking royals and their spouses, most of whom are judged on their looks. Felipe is just one more of the same.

Please pass the gin.

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About roughseasinthemed

I write about my life as an English person living in Spain and Gibraltar, on Roughseas, subjects range from politics and current developments in Gib to book reviews, cooking and getting on with life. My views and thoughts on a variety of topics - depending on my mood of the day - can be found over on Clouds. A few pix are over on Everypic - although it is not a photoblog. And of course my dog had his own blog, but most of you knew that anyway. Pippadogblog etc
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43 Responses to Do I really care who is King of Spain?

  1. makagutu says:

    What do you royal families do apart from hosting other royals?
    I don’t know if there is any good government, except my government πŸ˜€

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    • Well, they generate income from tourism. I think the Commonwealth is not a bad thing. They do pretty much what any head of state does except they *should* leave politics alone and they have better manners. One hopes πŸ˜‰

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      • makagutu says:

        Ah ok.
        My criticism of hereditary leadership would be in the same line as Thomas Paine. It assumes that if the father was a good leader, the same is true of the offspring.
        I don’t like politicians

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        • That’s a valid criticism and I would agree. I think the argument in favour is that the good (royal) ones have in in-bred sense of duty and put their duty to country first, eg EII. I don’t think you can say that of any politician. I dislike them too, although I did work with some decent local councillor a in the past, of all flavours.

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  2. Charles did rather put his foot in it recently of course with his ill-judged remark about President Putin.

    Hunting trips aside, I suppose Juan Carlos will be remembered mostly for two things. Killing his elder brother by accident but more importantly his betrayal of Franco and the restoration of democracy, that was a good thing wasn’t it?

    He has also got some nice palaces that you can visit!

    On balance I think constitutional Monarchies are a good thing and if you are lucky you get to go to a garden party!

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    • Maybe he is turning into Daddy? To be fair, he criticised the actions of the supposed government, rather than directly comparing Putin with Hitler. And he has received pretty mild press for it. And, where is the difference between annexing Poland on grounds of ethnicity and annexing the Crimea on grounds of … I just love the word annexing. Thought I had written a post about it, but can’t find it. Must look harder.

      People have short memories. Hunting trips and marital behaviour trump fratricide and democracy. One of the reasons I did think he was good was that last one though. So a shame to see him go out under a cloud when he had done a lot for Spain. Must read the biography I have of him. Typical, it’s written by a Brit and translated into Spanish!

      Perhaps anyone in a powerful position loses touch with reality. Thatcher, to name the obvious. It wasn’t just killing elephants that caused the problem, after years of boom, Spain has hit bust, and saying he couldn’t sleep nights when he was spending IN A DAY what would keep a family for a year just sent him down the slippery slope. Interesting. I didn’t expect it, I thought he was mentally tougher, given his Franco upbringing.

      I like his digs in central Madrid. Very swish.

      I agree, ie I think they are the least worst option. Not sure about our future though. Charles and Camel do not inspire me and neither do William and Catherine (because you can’t really have a Queen Kate, sounds so naff, as the princess royal might say). Still, I won’t be around long enough to worry. Best British monarchs are women anyway.

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      • SHOCK HORROR! I have to agree with you on the female British Monarchs statement. But if I was compiling a top 10 list I would make a case for William I (where would we be without the Normans) Henry VII, William III (although I would guess that you would say that he was only the supporting act in the William and Mary show) and George VI.

        Thatcher lost touch with reality but not nearly as badly as Blair.

        I hope Charles takes us all by surprise and becomes a good King – he won’t have too long at the job to get it wrong!

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        • Victoria and both Elizabeths are the obvious ones. Actually Mary 1 wasn’t too good. But given the number of male kings, primogeniture and all that, there have been so few women that it is interesting they were good. Or maybe, they presided over a good time. Or maybe if you live for a long time the good years outweigh the bad.

          I don’t really know much about any of them. My A level was based on Tudor documentation, and my O level was 1840s onwards. Hence more knowledge of history under queens.

          I’d left by the time Blair had lost the plot. I’m glad. I, and many colleagues, were excited when Labour got in. Didn’t take long for disillusionment to set in. Sad eh? So I can hold you to saying Blair was worse than Thatcher? πŸ˜€

          Laughed at that. No, he won’t get 60 years out of it. He could get 30 or so based on some of their lifespans. And, with age, comes wisdom. Sometimes.

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      • I wouldn’t include Mary Tudor in your list and Queen Anne would struggle to get a place but I guess you would admit her on the basis that she was the Monarch at the time of the Treaty of Utrecht?

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        • Anne falls into my historical gap century. But she would seem to get reasonable reviews, apart from yours. Silly. I would includes her just because she was a woman πŸ™‚

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          • I was thinking about the Gibraltar connection! By all accounts she was exceedingly dim but her reign did provide us with the Duke of Marlborough and stunning military success even though most of the time she was busy having babies.

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          • Not by all accounts, although I’ll admit my knowledge of her reign is scant. But yes, did we do well out if Spanish War of Succession? Did she have good advisors and good military people? And that had nothing to do with her? Was she having babies or miscarriages?

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          • Sidney Godolphin was the First Lord of the Treasury and she had John Churchill for military matters. I think her reign is also famous for a good range of quality furniture! Miscarriages mostly I think – all 17 children died!

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          • House of Stuart ended with her so she was a bit like E1 in that context. Did she start IKEA? ( joke, I don’t think the quality is that good).

            She is probably under-rated, which loosely translates to, I know little about her.

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  3. When I saw the news, I wondered if it meant any changes and what your view was being so close. At least it’s a change.
    No doubt the rest of the world thinks the US is totally bonkers right now – and they would be right. The 3 legs of government (Judicial/Supreme Court, Legislative/2 houses of Congress, Executive/President) are supposed to be checks and balances on each other’s power. Elections on the last 2 are staggered to terms overlap. Unfortunately the whole place was running on auto pilot for years before this president and we’ve now got all of those branches totally focused on their own desire to become wealthy and stay in office no matter the cost to the country. Not good. Not functioning. We’ll see what results – it may get very ugly.
    How’s the immigration to Gib? HA! Half kidding.(Too old for Australia…maybe the Caribbean…dogs can live on boats right?)
    Always enjoy your wit and writing. Monarchy does provide a stability and continuity with the houses elected underneath. Not such a bad idea
    Anyway, must get boring stuff done – will bounce back later.

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    • I don’t know what sort of changes, if any, it will mean. Spain is in the grip of economic disaster, and corrupt politicians. Royals turn a blind eye, after all, with Urdangarin, they can’t be worrying about the country when the family is allegedly fiddling the funds.

      Maybe the US is a troublesome teenager? Not very old but flexing its muscles but not really sure how? Like the rest of us, you live in difficult times. Your shutdowns are what leave me in disbelief. Just amazing. Or proposed shutdowns.

      We have marinas here. Think some friends (with a dog) were paying Β£3000 a year. Always an option …

      Thanks. Monarchy provides a different check. Sometimes I wonder if they should use their powers. But that would bring them right into the political arena.

      No boring stuff can be done here. In three weeks I have managed to wash the bathroom sink and sign some cheques πŸ˜€

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      • slow to heal injury has put the boat search on hold…need nonskid booties for Molly anyway.
        When they say “shut down” in the government – it doesn’t mean much shuts down – the few employees sent home were paid unemployment then AND their salaries’ back pay (once the Congress was back in session) The parks were shuttered completely unnecessarily by a vindictive president trying to make some suffer so to benefit himself. More like family too large with little in common than teenagers, I’m afraid. And far too much under the table dealing, crooked behavior, and deception to the general public. Many citizens are giving up and simply disengaging which is unwise.
        Perhaps monarchs tend to stay quiet because they don’t want to have to think about politics and risk their lifestyle. Have to admire the Queen’s stamina – what changes in the world she has seen. Charles? That’s a different story…he seems to be a bit disconnected with the real world sometimes. Idealist who may find it difficult to understand?
        Sitting get tiresome, but sinks can wait (how are the dogs managing?)
        Will they be giving you different levels/types of casts as you heal? The kid next door broke her leg in similar fashion in Bahamas – she’s weeping over her heavy summer leg wear now that school is out.

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        • Ah, poor Molls. Doggy gear is important. Just ordered more harness bits for Snows after a chewing incident.

          I did read that it wasn’t as bad as it was portrayed to be. But some people seemed to moan about it. Principally service wives to be honest. But I thought they got paid?

          I was thinking about relative age. There is something about new countries and older ones. America is still very young. And flexes those muscles. America as a constitution isn’t the same as those citizens who may well be disengaging. But don’t we all? Europe ain’t looking too good right now.

          The queen was meant to read endless briefing papers about govt so divorced from politics isn’t the thing, just not the protocol to comment.

          I think Charles is a wanker even if he is into organic gardening and talking to plants.

          Been waiting for new sinks everywhere let alone clean ones.

          Back slabs, ie half casts.

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  4. cobbies69 says:

    I cannot say I particularly care either, but I often think of the alternative, not liking that idea much. These people are suppose to set examples but they do not do so very well,, elephant hunting, deer hunting,pheasant shoots, oh they are so lucky. The only thing I will say about the alternative is at least they are selected by the public not like our Royals…. maybe the good old days of chopping heads and mental cases within the blood, and killing each other for the throne could be fun. ;).

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    • But elected heads of state are just as bad, if not worse. Check out American presidents who hunted. Probably bison and bear, but still the same. While I think many royals seem like glorified soap stars, I do think the queen sets a fine example. A very hard act to follow.

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  5. EllaDee says:

    Interesting, after the recent Will’n’Kate + George tour of Australia the has been a revival in favour of monarchism and corresponding decline in republicanism. Also corresponding is a decline in favour of the republican politcal contenders “Gen Y chooses Wills and Kate over President Rudd”. But all is not as it seems, the article – http://www.spiked-online.com/newsite/article/will-kate-and-the-myth-of-a-monarchist-revival/14947 – says it far better than I can “There’s another component to the so-called royal revival – celebrity culture.” And perhaps this is the reason behind the spate of royal resignations, as you say “the handsome Felipe and the lovely Letizia”.

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    • That’s am interesting article in spiked, and probably quite accurate in the celebrity culture. However,hadn’t it started in the UK with Diana? The difference being that celebs didn’t play the same role in daily lives, although I seem to remember some royals taking part in It’s a Knock Out.

      As I’m not interested in celebs, celeb monarchy leaves me cold anyway. I’d prefer more dignity and gravitas. But Royalty has to be about PR to some extent, and a good looking young couple are likely to attract more interest than a bunch of pensioners.

      When I used to watch Spanish TV and read the papers there was always something daily about one royal or another. There are quite a lot in Europe I suppose. Spanish aristocracy got their share of coverage too. Snobby lot.

      Abdication seems to be the norm in The Netherlands, so I wouldn’t say that was anything out of the norm. JC has taken a real nose dive in the popularity stakes, plus the government is making a real mess of everything so maybe it’s a bid for some feel good factor. Don’t know.

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  6. Kev says:

    Royalty is all about commercialism…nothing more. Think about all the revenue beautiful England would lose if we got rid of the royals! I like the pomp and splendour, but like you, glad I’m not having to do it. πŸ™‚ They’re kinda like pets in a way. at least that’s how I look at it… Here pretty princess, awe doesn’t she look lovely! That’s my princess…kissy, kissy. πŸ˜€

    As for presidents…it’s really no different to have a bloody prime minister to f>** things up for us! πŸ˜€ Now that I could do…the world according to Kev! I could do that…it’s so f***ed up, I couldn’t possibly make it any worse, anyway. And then at the end of my short four year term…I can retire with the same salary even if it is worse…win, win situation. Yep! I can do that. πŸ˜€

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    • I don’t mind them bringing in revenue to the country, and I think it is acknowledged that the British monarchy is the leading one, well, Liz seems to think so πŸ˜€ I’m less interested in the pet aspect, but I think my dogs are better looking anyway. Depends on preferences I suppose but there is too much emphasis on looks. Imagine if William had fallen in love with a short fat spotty bespectacled woman?

      The trouble with having a president and a prime minister is that you end up with not one, but two arseholes, making a mess of everything at the tax payer’s expense. Might as well tolerate the monarchy and accept the few pros they contribute. I mean nobody queues or waits anywhere to see a president. Nearest I have got to any of them was Princess Anne for a hospital opening.

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  7. Sonel says:

    *passes the gin*

    I’d better not say anything. When it comes to people like this, I get infuriated. Worse than politicians … or are they the same? Grrrrr….

    Some of them can be really glad we don’t live in the times of Marie Antoinette anymore. I would have been one of those that did the beheading. πŸ˜‰

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    • Thanks for the gin πŸ˜‰

      Can anyone be worse than politicians? Lawyers are nearly as bad but even journalists (☺️) and estate agents aren’t quite as bad.

      I’ve never had a strong view about royals. I don’t watch royal weddings or royal babies or walkabouts. I think it is silly pretending they are ‘like us’ when they are aristocratic and loaded.

      I don’t mind them being there if they do an OK job. I do mind them hunting elephants in Botswana, in fact I mind them hunting anything anywhere. I think they should avoid controversy and flaunting their wealth. I also think they should have a few morals regarding relationships, and when they are married, the men should not go shagging around as though they are living in days of long ago when it was acceptable. Imagine if QE II had affairs like Prince Philip and Juan Carlos are rumoured to have had. Or look at Charles and Camilla while he was married to Diana. The public is fickle however, Charles has now married Camilla after ruining a young woman’s life, and does anyone care? How nice to have your cake and eat it.

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      • Sonel says:

        You’re very welcome. You can have some Sherry too. πŸ˜†

        I totally agree with you there. However, around here the estate agents are worse than the politicians. LOL!

        I don’t either and have no interest in them or how they live and you said it. Why want to pretend to be ‘like us’? I’m an alien – don’t know about you. πŸ˜†

        Same thoughts here and well, that’s where my grievances come in. When it comes to animals and nature, I will raise hell. I must have been some kind of radical in one of my previous lives because I will kill with a smile when wild animals are being hunted.

        For people so wealthy and always in the spotlight, I do agree that they should have lots more morals than us ‘normal’ folks. As an alien, I have lots of morals and look down on these orinary human beings with all their faults and loose morals you know. πŸ˜›

        Now that is something that’s always intrigued me. Is it all that ‘money’ that have the men running around and shagging anything on two legs or what? Or do they get bored easier? I wouldn’t know as I do not fall in that ‘wealth category’ and when I look at their lives I wonder if I ever want to. I just want to live comfortably and have lots of love, health and happiness, with the money comfort you know. πŸ˜‰

        How anyone could have married Charles I also have no idea either. He is soooooooo UGLY! Good grief, no thank you! I apologize if I offend someone, but really! That man is no oil painting!

        Diana was such a beauty indeed and what a terrible waste. You said it – the public is fickle indeed, but I still wouldn’t have wanted her life. Thanks the gods. The two of us are blessed for sure. πŸ˜€

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        • Is gin big in SA? Should be given Dutch and Brit influence. But Larios, Spanish, is the best I have ever had, and we do make the best sherry too. We = Spain.

          As a vegetarian I jump on the very moral high ground re animals, and I appreciate most people don’t think the same way. But killing animals for fun? Still, we all see it differently. I don’t look for arguments, but I do pose questions sometimes that may be uncomfortable.

          As for morals regarding two legged inferiors, I gave my word to someone a lot of years ago, so I’ve always intended to stick by it. Not that hard, even in the face of idiotic and undesirable offers.

          Life could be so simple. Or maybe I am? πŸ˜€

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          • Sonel says:

            I wouldn’t know. LOL! Wish I had gin here but have to go with Sherry. Keeps me warm. Been freezing my butt off today. I think my low blood pressure is lower than normal. πŸ˜† I also think I must move to Spain. hahaha

            You have every right to. As a not-vegetarian *grin* I don’t like the ‘fun’ part of animal killing, like hunting them just for sport. At least I eat them – mostly chicken and fish. Not a big red meat eater.

            Life is simple. Sometimes we make it difficult. πŸ˜†

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          • Well I drink no gin these days and very dry sherry is rare, manzanilla from Sanlucar for choice.

            Blood pressure? You need paracetamol! Temperature? You need paracetamol! Pain? You need …

            Property is cheap in Spain. Well relatively. More bangs for your bucks where you live I suspect.

            Unless it’s on my blog, I try to avoid vegetarian hunting shooting fishing killing animals debates. People just get annoyed, upset and/or fall out. So I’m not going down that road. We all have different views.

            Life is never simple. Well mine is, other people just complicate it.

            Like

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