The Prince of Asturias: Ten Facts


  1. He is named after Felipe V, the first Spanish King of the Bourbon Dynasty. Felipe VI will be the 11th Borbón King.
  2. At 44, he will be the oldest King of Spain to ascend the throne. For now, that record belongs to his great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather Carlos III (Madrid, 1716-Madrid, 1788) who was 43 at the time of his ascension.
  3. He is the only European heir whose four grandparents were born Royal Highnesses and surely he will be the last. (Note)
  4. He participated in the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona with the Spanish sailing team. Prince Felipe finished sixth in his class and obtained an Olympic Diploma.
  5. He was 15 at the time of his first foreign official trip to Colombia.
  6. Through his maternal grandmother Frederika of Hanover, Queen of Greece, Prince Felipe is closely related to the infamous Prince Ernst August of Hanover, husband of Caroline of Monaco. One of his godsons is Ernst’s eldest son. 
  7. Besides regular school classes he had a private tutor at La Zarzuela (Doña Carmen Iglesias, member of the Royal Academy of History) who taught the young prince History of Spain and of his Dynasty.
  8. When he graduated as a pilot in the Air Force academy he had the crown of his head shorn in the shape of a “T”, as all Spanish Air Force cadets traditionally do when awarded their wings. 
  9. On their engagement interviewhis fiancée said of him that he was an exceptional human being, respectful and a great reader.
  10. He has a Law Degree from the Autonomous University of Madrid and a Master of Science in Foreign Service Degree from the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service of Georgetown University.
Note- Prince Felipe is the only European heir whose four grandparents were Royal Highnesses at birth from the reigning royal families. The four grandparents of his first cousin Pavlos (Crown Prince of Greece), Crown Princess Margarita of Romania, his cousin the Duke of Noto (heir of one of the claimants to the Headship of the Royal House of the Two-Sicilies), the heirs of the Count of Paris (one of the pretenders to the French throne)… were also born Royal Highnesses. 

Spain forgives King Juan Carlos after his hunting trip to Botswana.


Last week the Royal Household announced that King Juan Carlos had successfully undergone hip replacement surgery to repair minor damage  related to arthritis. It was also announced that Don Juan Carlos fell during a private trip to Botswana.

The backlash was immediate and completely unexpected for the King, who has always been respected and beloved by the Spanish people and politicians alike and protected by the press. But after the fraud scandal still surrounding his son-in-law Iñaki Urdangarín, the recent accident of Infanta Elena’s son and the harsh economic situation in Spain (which was particularly bleak that week) the reactions were not mild. In fact, the judgement of the King was criticised to the point that serious journalists and two prominent socialist politicians wondered if the Royal Household should prepare for an abdication and the start of the reign of Felipe VI or at least a regency.

On April 18, the day King Juan Carlos left the hospital, the state television (TVE) recorded the King’s first public words since the news of his hunting trip broke out. It was an unprecedented apology: “I am very sorry, I made a mistake and it won’t happen again” 


Four days later, on Sunday 22 two national newspapers (El Mundo and La Razón) published a poll each. The apology was effective and the overall results are mostly positive:

Poll of El Mundo:

  • 70% of Spaniards forgive the King unlike 20% who don’t.
  • 72% believe it was good or very good of him to apologize.
  • 73% of Spaniards consider that King Juan Carlos reign has been good or very good  (only 8% consider his reign badly or very badly)
  • 62% do not approve of the Botswana hunting trip (30% do approve of it)
  • 62% consider the king should not accept this kind of gifts. (Don Juan Carlos was invited by a Saudi businessman)
  • 52% believe that the Crown’s image has been tarnished.

Poll of La Razón:

  • 50.2% believe the Monarchy is an essential institution.
  • 71% consider Prince Felipe ready to take over his father.
  • 52% reject the idea of an abdication.
  • 59% consider the hunting trip a mistake.
  • 81% consider politicians should follow the King’s example and apologize when they make a mistake.
  • 52% value the Monarchy more than they value the political class.

Los españoles perdonan al rey y refrendan la monarquía, según varios sondeos

Felipe de Marichalar y Borbón accidentally shoots himself in his right foot.


Felipe and Victoria de Marichalar y Borbón

The Infanta Elena’s son Felipe Juan Froilán was on his father’s family estate in Soria when a small shotgun he was carrying accidentally fired itself hitting his foot. The King’s grandson went to a hospital in Soria where doctors cleaned the wound and later returned to the hospital in Madrid to get the pellets extracted. It was a minor accident and although he is fine, Felipe was kept overnight at the hospital and will stay for some days for the cleaning of the injuries. This morning Doña María Zurita, daughter of the Infanta Margarita, his grandmother Queen Sofía visited and Don Avelino Barros, head of the King’s Household Medical Services visited the patient.

Felipe and his sister Victoria were spending the last days of their Easter break with their father Jaime after skiing with the Infanta Elena in Baqueira. Because it is illegal for people under 14 to use any kind of gun or firearm and Felipe is 13 years old the hospital is obliged to notify the local court of the case, which in turn will contact the Civil Guard. Jaime de Marichalar will probably be questioned and held responsible as he was the adult present at the time of the accident, the most probable outcome is a fine and the confiscation of the gun.

Read more (Spanish): El hijo de la Infanta Elena, operado al disparársele una escopeta en un pie.

La Reina visita a Felipe Juan Froilán tras ser operado en el pie.

La Reina y la infanta Elena aseguran que el accidente de Froilán “solo ha sido un susto”

Froilán utilizó un arma prohibida para su edad.

Read more in English:

Spanish king’s teenage grandson shoots himself in foot

Photo: Casa de Su Majestad el Rey

Ricardo Macarrón, Court Painter


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Ricardo Macarrón (Madrid, 1926-Segovia, 2004) was a Spanish painter who studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando and after receiving an scholarship, continued his studies in Paris. Although he never held the title of Court Painter he completed numerous portraits of five generations of the Royal Family. Macarrón also painted foreign royalty, including Queen Elizabeth and Princess Margaret of the United Kingdom, the previous Grand Duke and Duchess of Luxembourg, Queen Noor of Jordan or the late Princess Grace of Monaco. His first royal assignment came from Her Majesty Queen Victoria Eugenia in 1967. Reminiscencing in an interview in 2001, Macarrón was still nervous. “I was shaking all over. Her presence was impressive, her movements, her gestures. Usually, all those (royal) portraits suppose a strain, but I have never seen anything like her”

HM Queen Victoria Eugenia, 1967. (Click to enlarge)

Stress from the painter aside, the Queen and her family liked it, and both of Her Majesty’s daughters, Her Royal Highness the Infanta Doña Beatriz, Princess Torlonia di Civitella-Cesi and Her Royal Highness the Infanta María Cristina, Countess Marone, commissioned a portrait that same year.

HRH the Infanta Doña Beatriz (click to enlarge)

HRH the Infanta Doña Cristina (Click to enlarge)

In 1971, Macarrón travelled to Estoril for his next royal portrait, Her Royal Highness Doña María de las Mercedes, Countess of Barcelona.

HRH the Countess of Barcelona (click to enlarge)

Years later, he would paint her husband, the Count of Barcelona, both in daywear and in uniform with condecorations. This latter portrait would be used for stamps featuring the Count of Barcelona in 1993.

HRH the Count of Barcelona, 1983 (Click to enlarge)

The first time Macarrón painted the King and Queen they were still Prince and Princess of Spain. It was a commission from the director of the National Olympic Committee, to replace a portrait of Franco and his wife. From that moment on, Ricardo Macarrón completed many portraits of the Royal couple.

At the studio of Macarrón in 1976 (Click to enlarge)

HM the King in 1982 (Click to enlarge)

HM the Queen in 1983 (Click to enlarge)

His Majesty in 1992 (Click to enlarge)

Her Majesty in 1992 (Click to enlarge)

In 1984 King Juan Carlos surprised his wife Doña Sofía with three portraits of their children. The Infantas and the Prince told their mother they were going to the dentist when they went to Macarrón’s studio to pose:

HRH the Infanta Doña Elena (Click to enlarge)

HRH the Infanta Doña Cristina (Click to enlarge)

HRH the Prince of Asturias (Click to enlarge)

Five years later, Macarrón would paint an older Prince of Asturias in naval uniform and with the Golden Fleece His Royal Highness had received two years earlier.

HRH the Prince of Asturias (Click to enlarge)

That same year, Her Royal Highness the Infanta Doña Pilar and her husband, His Excellency the Duke of Badajoz and Viscount of La Torre, posed for Macarrón:

HRH the Infanta Doña Pilar, 1989 (Click to enlarge)

HE the Duke of Badajoz, 1989 (Click to enlarge)

Three years before his death, Ricardo Macarrón, who had already painted HM Queen Victoria Eugenia, her children, her grandchildren and her great-grandchildren, painted the portrait of a young Felipe de Marichalar y Borbón, first-born of HRH the Infanta Doña Elena and great-great-grandchild of Queen Victoria Eugenia, the first royal who posed for him.

HE Don Felipe de Marichalar y Borbón, 2001

Juan Valentín Urdangarín y Borbón, first born of HRH the Infanta Cristina, was Macarrón’s last royal subject a year after his cousin.

Ricardo Macarrón poses with the finished portrait of HE Don Juan Urdangarín y Borbón, 2002.

15 Questions and Answers on the Urdangarín Case.



1.  What is Urdangarín’s legal status?

Iñaki Urdangarín has been indicted by the Judge in charge of the case. That means they’ve found enough evidence to start the legal process against him. However, the Duke of Palma hasn’t been charged.

2.  What are the accusations against him?

The bill of indictment mentions four possible crimes:

  • Misappropriation of public funds
  • Breach of fiduciary duty
  • Fraud
  • Falsification of official documents

3.  Will there be a trial against him?

Only if he is charged after this first phase of investigation of the alleged crimes  is concluded.

4.  Will Urdangarín be formally charged?

It is not known yet. The judge will finish hearing the declarations of witnesses and the indicted persons and with the district attorney’s office will study all the evidence before anyone is charged and a trial is prepared. Even if he is found guilty, some crimes may have expired and he could not be accused for them.

5.  What is Urdangarín’s stance on this?

He maintains his innocence.

6.  What is the Urdangarín Liebaert family’s stance on this?

An e-mail they sent to their close friends and family was leaked to the press yesterday. They thank them for their support and are sure their son and brother is a good and righteous person.

7.  What is the Royal Family’s stance on this?

From the beginning of the investigations they’ve maintained their trust on the judicial system and have avoided commenting as this is Urdangarín’s private business. However, they have sidelined the Duke of Palma from official engagements and the Head of the Royal Household called his behaviour “non-exemplary”

8. Have the King and the Prince of Asturias met with Urdangarín after the scandal broke?

No. Contrary to some reports, as of February 22, the King or the Prince had not met with Urdangarín. On a previous trip to Spain the Duke had a meeting with the Head of the Household but not with His Majesty or His Royal Highness.

9.  What is Infanta Cristina’s involvement in the corruption case?

The Infanta Cristina was a member of the board of the Noos Institute for a while. Nevertheless, the evidence has never shown she had any kind of executive role in the Institute and the judge did not see any reason to indict her. Executives of Noos have declared that she didn’t attend board meetings, gave orders or even go to the headquarters.

10.  Who takes part in the accusation?

The District Attorney’s Office. The fascist trade union “Manos Limpias” has presented itself as particular accusation to try to get the Infanta Cristina indicted.

11.  Have “Manos Limpias” been successful in their goal?

No. After “Manos Limpias” asked the judge for her indictment, the district attorney’s office rejected the idea.

12.  When will Urdangarín testify before the judge in charge of the case? 

Tomorrow, Saturday 25 of February at the Court of Palma de Mallorca.

13.  Where are Iñaki Urdangarín and the Infanta Cristina now?

He travelled to Madrid from the USA, where he lives and works, on Tuesday morning. The Infanta flew in on Wednesday morning. Today they’ll travel to Mallorca where it is expected they’ll stay at their residence inside Marivent.

14.  Will the Infanta Cristina go to the courthouse tomorrow?

No, the Infanta will not accompany the Duke tomorrow.

15. Will Urdangarín speak to the press tomorrow? (UPDATE)

He has planned to speak to the press at the Courthouse entrance for a short while before entering. Once he is testifying, his lawyers will publish a press release.

UPDATE: Urdangarín will arrive at the court by car due to security concerns.

Read more at El País in English: Iñaki Urdangarín faces day in court amid intense public interest

Iñaki Urdangarín, husband of Infanta Cristina, under investigation over alleged corruption case

The Royal Guard updates its website and includes a photo archive


Click on the images to enlarge!

A foreign ambassador arrives to the Royal Palace escorted by the Royal Guard

The Guard, established in 1504 by King Ferdinand the Catholic, is Europe’s oldest Royal Guard and is formed by soldiers from the three branches of the Armed Forces. The senior unit and one of the oldest body guards in the World is the Corps of Gentlemen of the Chamber, dating to 1006 and created by Sancho Garcia of the House of Castile

The new site includes a photo archive with historical and recent pictures.

Royal Guards escort the Royal Family during Spain's National Day

A foreign ambassador arrives at the Royal Palace to deliver his diplomatic credentials to His Majesty the King

The Royal Guard escorting the Royal Family

Change of Guard of the current Royal Guard

Change of the exterior guard (Cavalry units)

Royal Guards during the interior change of guard

Royal Escort of His Majesty King Alfonso XIII leaving the Palace

Royal Escort of HM King Alfonso XIII in various uniforms

Royal Escort of HM King Alfonso XII / Alfonso XIII

Corps de garde at the Royal Palace

For many more images of the Royal Guard fulfilling their duties to the King and the Royal Family or foreign dignitaries, participating in military parades, doing their everyday duties, military exercises and training and for historical photos check their website.

Photos: Guardia Real

The Prince and Princess of Asturias latest news: Rare Diseases meeting, military engagements, ex-girlfriend’s books, skiing and more



  • On February 9 Their Royal Highnesses visited Tarazona (Zaragoza) and inaugurated the beautifully restored Cathedral. After their visit and the media coverage of the event, the Tourism Office of Tarazona is overwhelmed with requests from hundreds of Spaniards to visit, there is not enough room for all of them.
  • The Prince of Asturias, after being invited at the opening of the FITUR tourism fair, skied last weekend at Sierra Nevada in Granada(Andalusia)
  • Last week a very flattering article was printed in the French Point de Vue magazine. The headline was “Letizia to the rescue of the Royal Family” and was the cover story. The article is now making the rounds in the Spanish press.
  • Don Felipe visited the military base of ‘Zarco del Valle’ in El Pardo on February 13
  • Doña Letizia had a working meeting with the Spanish Federation of Rare Diseases(FEDER) on February 14. There are three million people in Spain suffering from one of these Rare Diseases.
  • Yesterday, on February 15, the Prince of Asturias, Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece since the day he turned 18 and swore allegiance to the King and the Constitution, visited the exhibition of the Order in the Carlos de Amberes Foundation.
  • Isabel Sartorious, Don Felipe’s first girlfriend and current friend of the couple has published a book explaining her mother’s drug-addiction and her own personal life. She broaches her relationship with the Prince, denying that the King and Queen had any role in their separation and saying that the Royal Family was always exceptionally kind to her. It is known Isabel is friends with the Princess of Asturias and she praises Doña Letizia, calling her a very good friend and a source of support when she has needed. On this week’s Hola
  • On February 16, the Prince and Princess of Asturias are opening the ARCOmadrid Contemporary Art Fair.

Photo: Point de Vue