When Jeb Bush came to Spain a few years ago, he committed the horrible blunder of actually referring to the nation as the “Republic of Spain”. Spaniards were outraged at his ignorance. Spain is not a republic, it is something else. I think that if Spaniards looked up the term “republic” in the dictionary, they would probably be pretty happy to consider themselves one, but unfortunately the nation’s history and politics make the use of the term “republic” politically incorrect.
Spain is actually a constitutional monarchy and is official called the “Kingdom of Spain”. Unlike England, where the press loves to pry into the private lives and pecadillos of its royal family, Spaniards and their press leave the royal family in peace. That isn’t to say that the Spanish royal family doesn’t appear in the news and the high society magazines. They do and all the time. But, Spaniards have a great deal of respect for their royalty. Maybe this is because King Juan Carlos played an important role not only in the birth of Spain’s democracy, but also because he was the central figure in dismantling the 1981 military coup attempt.
The result is that everyone lives and lets the King and his family live, with their personal lives unchallenged by an over puritanical and critical eye (and they ain’t no Saints either). There is absolutely no public criticism in the press of these guys. Well, at least until now, and this time it was done in jest and the perpetrator is being prosecuted for offending the honor of the royal family.
Recently, the Spanish Government passed a new law that gives a 2,500 EUR incentive to all families for each child born after June 1, 2007. The heir to the thrown, Prince Felipe de Asturias and his wife just recently had their second child in May. The El Jueves magazine, comparable to Mad Magazine in the States, published the cover shown above with the following text:
2,500 EUR per child
Prince saying to his wife, “Do you realize that if you get pregnant . . . this will be the closest I’ll get to actually working in my entire life.”
The Spanish instructive judge (or prosecuting judge, a strange phenomena in Continental legal systems), Luis del Olmo, then brought a libel suit against the magazine with an injunction against its publication and blocking its website for having offended the honor of the royal family. The injunction was lifted, and El Jueves has now come out with this new cover:
But it appears that Del Olmo is not dropping the charges. Wasn’t everyone in Europe complaining about the Patriot Act, the Bush Administration, and the loss of civil rights?
Come on, it’s funny and healthy to poke fun at your monarchs, especially if you don’t live in a republic “in which all segments of society are enfranchised” and “free from hereditary or monarchical rule.”
Personally, I have met the Prince on several occasions and think very highly of him. I also think the cover is pretty funny. I am willing to bet that he did too.