Royal Central’s Editor-in-Chief Charlie Proctor explains why he thinks King Felipe of Spain’s address to the nation was misjudged and had parallels of an absolute monarchy opposed to a constitutional monarchy.
When The King of Spain makes a televised address to the nation, you know it is going to be significant. This extremely rare event usually only occurs annually on Christmas Eve when His Majesty wishes Spanish citizens a Merry Christmas, but Tuesday’s speech on the Catalonia referendum took a completely different tone. One might argue some snippets of the speech sounded as if it was delivered by an absolute monarch as opposed to a constitutional monarch who was trying to mediate the unfolding crisis.
In his speech, the King criticised Catalonia’s authorities, accusing them of “unacceptable disloyalty” adding that they are seeking to divide Catalonia. In fact, the whole of His Majesty’s speech was firmly focused on the actions of Catalonian separatists, with Felipe condemning their actions, describing them as “irresponsible.” In stark contrast, The King did not mention the police violence once in the duration of his speech.
Currently, on the streets of Catalonia, there are hundreds of thousands of people on the roads protesting against the police brutality which saw close to 1,000 people injured on Sunday as people attempted to vote in the referendum. His Majesty’s comments (or lack of comments) only add insult to injury, and many have taken the view that Felipe’s speech has only added oil to the already raging fire.
One would have expected the King to call for political dialogue in his address, recognising that tensions were high. He could (and should) have called for both parties to come to the table for discussions to try and work out an arrangement which would suit both the central government and the Catalonian authorities. Instead, by firmly sticking to the position that the Spanish government’s actions were justifiable and that Catalonia’s actions were illegal, King Felipe has only helped Catalan in its mission to get independence.
Those in the province who already want to be split from Spain will feel an increased sense of anger towards the Monarchy and the government, and it now seems likely independence is inevitable. Expect Catalonian authorities to declare independence in the coming days as the result of Sunday’s referendum comes in.
It was a mistake for King Felipe to use make this statement. He called for unity but only criticised one side. The rule of law applied to all – something certain people seem to be forgetting.
Do you agree with Charlie Proctor, or do you agree with Oskar Aanmoen who argues that the referendum actually strengthens the monarchy in Spain? Let us know by commenting below: