The Reign in Spain - The Popularity of the Spanish Royal Family
by Olivia Elson on Wednesday, July 14, 2010
One thing which has struck me being in Spain, if only for a few days, is the unique relationship that the Spanish have with their Royal Family. Far from the privacy and detachment of many others including the British royals, King Juan Carlos, his wife Queen Sofia and their relatives remain very much in the public eye.
Extensive press coverage, not only in Spain but across the globe, on the royals’ reactions to the World Cup, as well as the warmth and familiarity with which they greeted the returning champions two days ago speaks volumes about their intimate relationship with the Spanish population.
Indeed, the Spanish monarchy has long been at the forefront of the media - everyone wants to know about their lives, and the royals don’t appear to have any qualms telling them. They are a famously laid-back group who are seen to be inviting the public into their lives, and nothing illustrates this better than their relaxed family photos, free from any allusions of grandeur. What’s more, they are very rarely criticised, unlike their British counterparts who, rightly or wrongly, seem to be constantly under fire due to questions over expenses and even their suitability as heads of state.
Conversely, Los Reyes are arguably the prime examples of royals successfully uniting a country through their incredible empathy and solidarity with the whole of Spanish society. They both reflect and determine public opinion – when society celebrates, so do the royals; and when problems arise, they are always quick to support their citizens.
It seems to me that the greatest triumph of the Royal Family is their willingness to share their lives with the public and emphasise that they are, above all else, human. When Princess Letizia recently wore the same outfit twice (¡que horror!) a news article commented “Princesses – they’re just like us!” Well, perhaps not quite, but you can’t fault them for trying.