Not even the most Republican scriptwriter could have invented a more devastating narrative for the Spanish monarchy than the cruel reality that is constantly unfolding. Not a day goes by without some new crack in the foundations of an institution incapable of halting the permanent decline in its credibility between news stories which, when they are not about corruption in one of its many facets, have to do with the slip-ups of some of its members, the opposition of the pro-regime parties to any parliamentary investigation or the details on the flight to exile of the king emeritus Juan Carlos I, who has been far away from Spain since August 3rd last year.
It is impossible to always keep up with the latest revelations, as the different members of the monarchy seem to have decided to subject Spanish society to a stress test, putting under examination those who try to protect and shelter an institution that is rapidly slipping into the muck without any of its members doing anything to prevent it. From the most important to the least, because even if they had all made a pact to maximise the public rejection, they could not have done it better.
The latest news to break is that the infantas, Elena (57) and Cristina (55) - Felipe VI's two sisters - received coronavirus vaccinations in the United Arab Emirates during a visit to their father, Juan Carlos I, who was also vaccinated in Abu Dhabi, during the second week of February. Former Spanish intelligence service director Félix Sanz Roldán is also believed to have been part of the team who received the two necessary doses for Covid-19 immunization on a trip to the Middle East. A very simple question: has someone in the inner circle of the royal family actually decided to put an end to the institution? Has some idea occurred to one of the many minds thinking about all this? Because if not, what is happening has no possible explanation. In a responsible country, someone would think that one cannot go round preaching that monarchy must set an example and then do the opposite time and time again.
What is exemplary about the infantas Elena and Cristina getting vaccinated as part of some type of luxury health tourism? What is exemplary about their father's two tax regularizations for five million euros while the Spanish treasury and the public prosecutors seem to be busy with other chores? What is exemplary about refusing - for the seventh time - to hold a commission of inquiry in the Congress of Deputies into the corruption of the Spanish monarchy? None of it is exemplary and, in fact, this huge mockery, this enormous sick joke, is unacceptable in a country that boasts of being an exemplary democracy and yet constantly needs an ever-larger carpet under which to hide all its dirt after decades of leaders who have looked the other way so as not to jeopardize the unity of Spain.
And now it is very likely that there is no longer time to turn the corner. What we are seeing has always happened, but the difference now lies in the fact that before, such matters were hidden as best they could be and there was some persuasive talking done to the proprietors of the paper press. Now, however, it all comes to the surface without official phone calls being able to do anything to prevent it. “It doesn’t concern us, as they are not part of the royal family,” they have said in the Zarzuela royal palace in the only official response made, where life in the glass castle goes on. And all without realizing that the four million unemployed in Spain who have been announced this Tuesday look across at the privileges of a few; or that ERTO furlough money is not reaching the public who are entitled to it. And thus the threat of social explosion is not just speculation from sociology professors, but a possibility that is not at all remote.