IT wasn´t long ago that the Spanish royal family were the toast of Europe and even the world. They were billed as the role model for other royal families to follow. They appeared modern and in touch with their subjects. But their fall from grace has been fast and now Spain is effectively split.

King Felipe is doing a good job but he is fighting a rearguard action; his father, the once hugely popular King Juan Carlos is under investigation by the tax authorities over offshore funds and his brother-in-law Inaki Urgandarin is in prison after being found guilty by a Palma court of tax fraud. In fact, King Juan Carlos has left Spain and is now living in the Gulf states.

King Felipe has been attacked in some quarters for not mentioning his father's alleged wrongdoing in his speech to the nation on Christmas Eve. How a serving monarch was meant to mention a tax probe against his father in his traditional speech, is difficult to comprehend but some left-wing pro-republican groups wanted just that.

Don't get me wrong the Spanish royal family is still very popular but King Felipe faces a huge task; he must try and unite the country behind the monarchy at a time of deep economic concerns and ofcourse the Covid crisis.

The fact that a pro-republican political group (Podemos) is in government alongside the Spanish Socialist Party makes the problem even more pronounced. Despite his recent fall from grace I would say that King Juan Carlos served Spain well and probably thanks to him democracy continues to exist and prosper here. His son should be allowed to serve the people of Spain without having to worry about the problems which exist in his own family. But what is clear though is that one day you can be the toast of the world and the next you can be under scrutiny. King Felipe should be given a chance.

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