Madrid, May 2004
Everyone assumed they would represent King Juan Carlos in Monaco this weekend, but the surprising news that the Prince and Princess are not going to the wedding of Prince Albert II and his South African bride broke earlier today.
This morning, the King’s Household announced that the invitation was sent to the King, and as he’s recovering from his knee operation(and doesn’t attend weddings of non family members anyway) he’s not attending and isn’t sending the Prince and Princess of Asturias instead. They wouldn’t confirm if one of his daughters would represent the Spanish Royal Family, and it’s been speculated whether infanta Pilar, as a fellow IOC member will be invited in a personal capacity.
The European Royals have a history of snubbing the Grimaldis, but in the last years that had changed. We only need to compare the guests to Prince Rainier and Grace Kelly’s wedding with the impressive list of royals that will go to Monaco on Saturday. The late Prince Rainier and Princess Grace attended all the important events of the Spanish Royals, as they were particular friends of Queen Victoria Eugenia, who also was Prince Albert’s godmother. The present Prince of Monaco has attended the weddings of all the King’s children, and the Count and Countess of Barcelona with the Duke and Duchess of Cádiz attended Princess Caroline’s first wedding. While it’s true that the Monegasque sovereign is a “mere” Serene Highness and is not on the same royal league, given their families history and the Princely family acceptance in the European Royal scene, a complete Spanish absence would seem very harsh.
Meanwhile, a journalist who covers the Spanish Royal Family announced today that Felipe will be sailing the weekend of the wedding in Valencia(Spanish South- Eastern Coast). The regatta will honour his navy instructor, who is retiring from sailing.
The internet forums are of course coming up with several possible explanations for this absence. Some of what I’ve read(ranging from the wildly dramatic speculations to more probable ones), in no particular order.
1- Some unknown(to us) problem between the two families, as after the Madrid 2012 fiasco Prince Albert was received in La Zarzuela and the relations seemed normalised.
2-King Juan Carlos is dying and/or going to abdicate on Felipe.
3-The poor state of the Spanish economy prevents them from attending.
4-The debate of the State of the Nation in Parliament is this week and they shouldn’t leave Spain
5-Because it’s a Princely wedding instead of a royal one, the King doesn’t need to send a representative if he’s not attending.(This is what the Spanish press is saying)
6-The Spanish Royals are angry that Luis Alfonso of Bourbon, Duke of Anjou is invited as Head of the House of France.
7-Goes with 6, the Spanish Royals are angry that Charles and Camilla, Duke and Duchess of Castro, are invited.
8-They believe the Grimaldi wedding isn’t worth their time.
9-They don’t want to be associated with that kind of wedding(car sponsored by a brand, pen sponsored by another brand, seeking the media presence, many celebrities invited…)
10-Monaco is a fiscal paradise and Spain wants to investigate some Spanish fortunes there. Monaco is unwilling to let them.
11-Another, not previously thought of reason.
Which one is the correct one in your opinion?
Yesterday evening, the same source from the Royal Household said that while the King is not going, it hasn’t been decided if any other member of the Royal Family will attend. Infanta Pilar’s secretary also confirmed that Her Royal Highness has not received a personal invitation.
Was yesterday information a huge mistake or miss understanding from the “source”? Or is something going on?
For now we’ll have to wait for some official information, or the last resource, the actual wedding.
UPDATE NUMBER 2
The theory right now is that the King was scheduled to attend, being Prince Albert a head of State and all. In that scenario, Felipe and Letizia made plans for the regatta long ago, and now don Juan Carlos, having been operated recently, doesn’t know if he’s up to it. La Zarzuela being La Zarzuela, with their “wonderful” team of communication, instead of explaining that they are waiting to see how the Sovereign’s knee is by the weekend, is giving confusing information, making it look like the Spanish Royals are snubbing the Prince of Monaco.