This Thursday, Queen Elizabeth II showed again why her popularity among the British people stands at 72% and over 80% believe she is doing a good job as monarch after 70 long years of reign, having gone through world wars, fourteen prime ministers, the fatal accident of Lady Di —perhaps her real annus horribilis—, the death of her husband, Philip of Edinburgh, and numerous scandals of various kinds in the British Crown. She did not hesitate to send her son Andrew, 61, to the depths of darkness for the scandal of the alleged sexual abuse of a minor, and she has done so immediately after learning he is going to be brought to trial. She announced, through a brief but forceful statement from Buckingham Palace, that the military honours and royal patronage he held as the third son and ninth in the line of succession will be withdrawn.
If monarchies are anachronistic, which they are, they can only win the affection of the citizenship with responsibility and knowing at all times what the demands of the new times are. Lead, not be an obstacle: this is what most of the population, which must be treated with the appropriate maturity, believe royalty should do. Not pretend to do one thing and, in fact, do the opposite. Elizabeth II made sure to learn from the crisis her institutional coldness caused when Diana of Wales died in August 1997, which damaged her popularity and took a long time to overcome. Since then, she has made no mistakes and has shown an adequate sensitivity.
The contrast between the performance of the English and the Spanish Crowns is evident. The discredit the latter suffers, the cases of corruption, Juan Carlos I's luxurious exile in the United Arab Emirates and the protection he has from the entire deep state in enormously serious cases, covered up by the Spanish judiciary. All this, moreover, with the endorsement of the 1978 Francoist regime parties, forming, from right to left wing, an impregnable fortress despite the discredit of the Crown. The level of popularity of the institution is so low that years ago the CIS —the Centre for Sociological Research, the official body of the Spanish state's opinion polls— decided to withdraw any question about the Crown in order to avoid major problems.
This is not the only difference between both Crowns and institutions of the respective states. Recently, 150 retired military officers sent a letter to Elizabeth II requesting the withdrawal of Prince Andrew's honorary offices because they considered he was not worthy of them. In Spain, what happens is just the opposite: the only thing the retired military would do is send a letter to Felipe VI assuming far right’s Vox speech, like the one they sent him in November 2020, which he never disavowed. These are not mere details: it takes political mettle to understand the role of the Crown and what it means to reign.
Regarding Catalonia, the televised royal lecture of October 3rd, 2017, is still very present. It showed the irreversible distancing between the Crown and Catalan society after the police violence of October 1st, 2017. The coldness with which Elizabeth II faced a possible loss of a part of British territory, like Scotland in the 2014 referendum, has very little to do with the attitude of the Spanish king rallying those who repressed the right to vote and left over a thousand injured in the Catalan streets. Therefore, one enjoys the recognition of her people and the other cannot visit Catalonia if he is not surrounded by a strong police device.