Sunday, 29 December 2013

Royal pictures of 2013: Spain

The unexpected, and unusual, sight of a kiss between King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia caused a stir in September 2013.  The king was waiting for the arrival of King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands when his queen surprised everyone by joining him and then planting a kiss on his cheek.  There was much speculation as to why Queen Sofia had chosen to show so much affection to her husband in public.  It was later reported that around this time the king had discovered he needed another operation on his hip and his wife was offering some comfort almost immediately after the diagnosis.  But just days later, rumours swept Spain via social media that the king was about to abdicate.  Within hours, the royal household denied this and revealed the king's new health problems.  But the picture remained one of the most surprising of 2013.

The unexpected kiss.  This rare display of public affection between Juan Carlos I and his consort, Sofia, sparked huge speculation
The whole county was devastated in July when a train crashed at speed on the approach to Santiago de Compostela and 79 people were killed, with hundreds more injured, in the incident.  The royal family spent a lot of time in the area after thecrash with the Prince and Princess of Asturias and the Infanta Elena attending the memorial service.  The image of the king and queen in the city so soon afterwards was symbolic of the concern and heartbreak many felt for those affected by the incident.

King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain in Santiago de Compostela in the aftermath of a train crash that left 79 people dead
On October 12th 2013, the Prince of Asturias took the salute at Spain's National Day parade for the first time.  King Juan Carlos was still recovering from an operation on his hip and his son and heir led the royal family on this important day.  Queen Sofia did not attend the military parade, leaving Felipe and Letizia alone on the royal dias but the consort did lead the reception for dignitaries afterwards with the prince, princess and the Infanta Elena lending a hand with the handshaking. The image of a king in waiting acting for the king in this hugely significant event is one of the photos of the year for Spain's royals.

 The Prince and Princess of Asturias on the royal dias during Spain's National Day
on October 12th 2013
The prince had experienced bitter disappointment earlier in the year when he saw his dreams of bringing the Olympic Games to Madrid in 2020 come to nothing.  Prince Felipe had taken a leading role in the bid process and his energy and enthusiasm was credited by many for making the Spanish capital the favourite of the three cities bidding for the honour.  The prince's final speech to the International Olympic Committee was well received but was not enough to stop Madrid being eliminated first from the vote.  But the image of the prince, with his hand on his heart, trying to convince the IOC to bring the games to Spain enhanced his reputation.

Prince Felipe during his speech to the IOC in the last bidding round for the 2020 Olympics.  Madrid lost out to Tokyo

There was a brief moment of sunshine for the Spanish royals in the middle of another difficult year.  Queen Sofia gathered all her grandchildren around her for a short while during the annual holiday in Mallorca and posed with them for a generational shot that is becoming rarer and rarer for the Spansih royals.  The queen's devotion to her family had been shown earlier when she'd been photographed out and about with a handbag bearing photos of all eight of her grandchildren.

Queen Sofia of Spain with her daughter, the Infanta Elena, and her daughter-in-law, the Princess of Asturias, as well as all eight of her grandchildren during the family's annual holiday in Mallorca in August 2013

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