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Despite the good intentions declared by Spanish king Felipe VI when he announced a year ago that he was withdrawing the annual allowance to his father, the king emeritus Juan Carlos I, the official record of public spending just released contains an unexpected item: 42,000 euros for the disgraced former king, which relates to the first months of 2020, from January to March, until Felipe gave the order to cancel the transfer.

The decision on the matter by Spain's current head of state was announced on March 16th, just as Spain entered a state of alarm due to the coronavirus pandemic. At that time, in response to the emergence of serious corruption allegations centred on his father, Felipe VI declared that he was renouncing his inheritance, and he also withdrew the allowance set aside for Juan Carlos in the annual budget, which amounted to 194,232 euros. What he did not specify is that he would pay him off for all the work he had done already in the first part of 2020.

The exact phrasing used by Felipe VI in a statement was as follows: "His Majesty the King Juan Carlos ceases to receive the allowance that he had been allocated in the budget of the House of His Majesty the King." This Wednesday, the Zarzuela royal palace published, in compliance with information transparency laws, all the data relating to the last financial year and there are items that are not yet clear. That is to say, the total amount in the budget remains the same as in 2019, ascending to a total of 7,880,000 euros - even though the amount paid to the emeritus in 2020 was, in theory, only a fraction of the expenditure in previous years.

For his part, Felipe VI received 253,843 euros in 2020, his wife Letizia was paid 139,605 euros and the queen emeritus Sofia, 114,231 euros. In terms of staff costs, they amounted to 3.9 million euros; 2.6 million went to current expenditures on goods and services; 112,000 euros in contingency funds and 1.3 million in royal investments.

However, it should be noted that spending from the Spanish public agency National Heritage, which officially is dedicated to preserving historical and cultural heritage, also covers many expenses for the Bourbons and is never fully broken down. Among other items, recent budget items include the maintenance of two private swimming pools used by Felipe's family, as well as 1.2 million euros to cover wages for the crew of the royal yacht Bribón.

Gifts to the Spanish royals

The Spanish king's transparency statements do, however, report the gifts that the royal family receive, family member by family member and item by item. In absolute terms, Felipe VI received 89 and Letizia 61; the princess Eleanor received two gifts included in the records, and the queen emeritus Sofia, one.

Among the highlights are: a framed Spanish flag, a compass, a tie, Fernando Alonso's crash helmet, a towel from the Spanish Swimming Federation, a porcelain plate, a scarf, six facemasks, an ashtray and two dresses. The most repeated items are books and sculptures.


Cover photo: archive image of Felipe VI and Juan Carlos I.