The blunt message from Catalan president Quim Torra to king Felipe VI that it's never too late to say sorry but that he's no longer king of the Catalans demonstrates three things. Firstly, that the statement he made at the start of the Mediterranean Games, that he considers the monarch persona non grata and that the Catalan government won't attend events organised by the Spanish monarchy and that nor will it invite the head of state to those it organises itself, was quite serious and not a moment of hot-headedness. Secondly, the conviction that the statement by the speaker of the Balearic Islands Parliament, Baltasar Picornell, on Monday after his audience with the king, saying that Felipe VI was prepared to talk with pro-independence parties, was just talk since there is neither a conversation with the royal household, nor an invitation. More than that: since the refusal in January 2016 to receive speaker Carme Forcadell -by the way, she's also in prison today- at the Zarzuela Palace to inform him of the Parliament's nomination of the president of Catalonia, the attitude of the Crown has always been one of great institutional discourtesy. And so on to the present.
And, thirdly, the very wide-spread belief in the independence movement that the international disrepute of the monarchy could end up forcing a move on the topic of the prisoners and the exiles if it wants to recover part of its lost prestige. Today, the Spanish royal family is no longer appearing in the international media and much of the Spanish media -especially if you move away from print newspapers- for their summer holidays in Mallorca but due to Iñaki Urdangarin's stay in Brieva prison. Or the news bomb set off by Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein which directly affects Juan Carlos I's honour and his affairs during the years he was head of state. The international media is focusing on this topic and, certainly, neither the king nor the queen come out unscathed.
The three ideas together are sufficiently powerful that the Catalan government doesn't want the matter to fall into the background and in its negotiations with the Spanish government, together with the release of the prisoners and exiles, is bringing up the demand for an apology by the king for his speech on 3rd October. Pedro Sánchez's team, with numerous matters on the table, not just to do with Catalonia, is unsuccessfully trying to reduce the distance between the Catalan government and the king which, moreover, especially bothers those around Felipe VI. "That they do something and don't wait too long," say Catalan government sources. "Everything after 20th August will be more difficult; they should take advantage of the summer heatwave," they add.
They are certainly opinions and nothing more. Because the conviction there will be no move made is high. But the door always has to be left open, they believe.