Spain's King Felipe VI will not attend this Sunday night's ceremony in Barcelona to present Spain's most important literary award, the Planeta Prize. El Nacional understands that the Spanish monarch and his wife, Queen Letícia, will not be attending the event this Sunday.
It is a tradition for the king and queen of Spain, together with leading Catalan and Spanish political figures, to attend the presentation of this prestigious award. At last year's gala the royal presence was joined by the Catalan president, Carles Puigdemont, and, as representatives of the Spanish government, the vice president Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, Minister of Justice, Rafael Catalá, and the speaker of the Spanish Congress, Ana Pastor.
The monarchy has not yet communicated the official reason for this absence although everything indicates that the climate of tension between the Catalan and Spanish governments could be behind the king's decision. Monday morning - just hours after the award - is the deadline set by the Spanish government for Catalan president Puigdemont to respond to the Spanish government on whether or not he declared independence last Tuesday.