None of the front pages of Spain's printed daily newspapers on Monday carried the story of the first of the royal corruption cases to be centred on king Felipe VI, which relates to his lavish honeymoon which took place across several continents, with a cost of around half a million euros, and paid for, according to the British newspaper The Telegraph, half by a businessman identified as one of the proxies of the king emeritus Juan Carlos I and half by the former monarch himself. The same is true for Spanish public television and the news programmes. This situation is not just anecdotal, but rather a reflection of an anomaly regarding what the role of the press should be in a democratic society, and it is only understandable in the light of the fragility of the accounts of the respective media companies after the fall in newspaper sales and advertising. Spain's printed daily press has thus become a containment dyke that blocks out the truth while, paradoxically, the news that is connected with the Spanish royal family's corruption does end up appearing in the digital editions, where it competes with other media, outside the sphere of what used to be considered the press of reference.
For now, the only reaction from the Spanish media conglomerates to the news published by The Telegraph has been from El País, noting that the Zarzuela royal palace had no comment; that of ABC, putting the focus on Princess Corinna, former lover of Juan Carlos I, as the propagator of the news; and that of broadcaster Carlos Herrera of the COPE radio network speaking of "a political operation to denigrate and weaken the crown, in which anything goes". It is normal that they don't want to say any more as they don't know how far these revelations will all go, as they are compromising the royal family's position and making it increasingly difficult to prevent an investigation into the commissions received by the king emeritus which, obviously, neither begin nor end with the high speed train to Mecca, although that is where the focus is now. Meanwhile there are other news stories, such as The Times's piece on the Spanish royal family last week, entitled "Sex, lies and Swiss bank accounts", while new installments are also announced in the Swiss press with regard to the investigation which the Alpine country's justice system has opened.
It is obvious that, despite all the efforts so far, Spain's deep state has not yet found the magic button that will black out all the cases of corruption that are emerging. And also that within the palace walls there is a complete lack of empathy in the handling of the situation, as evidenced, for example, by the fact that after the withdrawal of the allowance that Juan Carlos I was receiving as part of the funding for the king's household, which in turn comes from the Spanish government budget, no one thought that, since this amount will have no recipient, it would be best to return the more than 160,000 euros to the public treasury. Well, no. The decision taken has been to inject it into the Zarzuela's contingency fund, as if the royals were just a normal family lucky enough to gain a little more income after cancelling an expense.
The deep rift that exists in Spain, which goes far beyond the monarchy, with many of its main institutions under the spotlight for one reason or another, and in which the territorial crisis and the economic crisis come together, amplified by the mismanagement of the pandemic, will mean that the focus will fall on each and every one of the principal players in the near future. No matter how much they try to hide, the current monarchs will have no chance of even trying to turn around the present situation - when surveys give them a fail grade in Spain as a whole and a complete rejection in Catalonia and the Basque Country - without a radical break from the past and from the practices that are now beginning to enter the public domain. If not, the referendum on monarchy or republic will end up being unstoppable in Spain.