the pain for the death of queen elizabeth ii it is deep in the Palacio de la Zarzuela. The current kings, Felipe VI and Letizia, maintained a close relationship with the deceased monarch and with her former husband, the Duke of Edinburgh. The head of the Spanish State was highly esteemed in his “Aunt Lillybeth”as he called her loving way. The overlapping family trees of European royal families, derived from Queen Victoria (1819-1901), her nine children and 42 grandchildren, have ended up making the current monarchs distant cousins of each other. It so happens that both Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofía are great-great-grandchildren of Victoria, the so-called ‘grandmother of Europe’, as were Elizabeth II herself and her husband.
The head of the Spanish State sent a telegram to King Carlos a few minutes after the news of the death came out. “I feel deeply sorry for the sad news of the death of Queen Elizabeth II and I would like to offer Your Majesty and the British people, on behalf of myself and the Government and people of Spain, our deepest condolences,” he wrote. Felipe VI had for the evening an act at the Real Alcázar in Seville and assured that “she will be remembered as one of the best queens of all time for her dignity, sense of duty, courage and dedication to his people always and at all times”.
The Bourbons can breathe a sigh of relief to see how in the last three decades their distant cousins have overcome a very serious image crisis
From the first moment, Juan Carlos I had the support of Isabel II. The Duke of Edinburgh was one of the few foreign representatives to attend his enthronement in November 1975. He did it to show the support of the British royal family to the Bourbon restoration and also because of his closeness to Sofia, of whom he was an uncle in the second degree. If he had been born in the villa ‘Mon Repos’ (my rest) on the Greek island of Corfu, she spent moments of her childhood in that palace because it was the summer residence of the Greek royal family. If Isabel II was “Aunt Lilibeth” for Felipe VI, the Duke was “uncle Philip”.
During the long reign of Juan Carlos I, there were meetings in Spain and Great Britain in which they entertained each other showing the good relationship. From 1986 is the famous phrase that the former Spanish head of state released to journalists at the residence of the Spanish ambassador in London: “Come, let me introduce you to my cousin”, said with his famous impudence in reference to Elizabeth II. Also invited to the reception were the then Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, and the Prince and Princess of Wales, Charles and Diana.
The scuffles over Gibraltar
Felipe VI and Letizia were also able to exhibit the good connection with the British family in 2017 when, as kings, they made a state visit and were received by the royal couple, who died just over a year apart. “The depth of our ties and the strength of our friendship They will help our respective governments to address any issue in which discrepancies persist, with the best will and the highest spirit of collaboration”, declared the King at the gala dinner with the ‘brexit‘ background.
In fact, the worst moments between the two families have been due to political reasons and dragged by the scuffles between their respective governments. The first most notorious was due to the fact that Charles and Diane decided to start their honeymoon in Gibraltar (1981) and, in response, Juan Carlos and Sofía did not come to their wedding. The second also had the Rock as a reason for dispute. Prince Edward (Elizabeth’s son) visited Gibraltar just as her mother was going to celebrate her 60th year on the throne and Sofia decided not to attend the organized lunch in London. Juan Carlos was convalescing from operations due to his fall in Botswana and was able to travel.
The Spanish royal family can look at itself in the mirror of the British and breathe a certain relief to see that, in the last three decades, its distant cousins have managed to overcome very serious crises, such as the extramarital relationship between Carlos and Camilla, the breakup of the marriage with Diana and the sexual abuse of prince andrewamong other scandals.