FIVE years ago the Spanish royal family were the toast of their European counterparts. They were heralded as the blue-print for modern royal families. Their approval rating was in the high 80s and the monarchy appeared very much secure.

Fast-forward five years and the royal family appears to be in trouble. The once hugely popular King Juan Carlos has left Spain and is living in the Gulf states amid allegations of a Swiss bank account containing millions. King Felipe is popular but the good luck and favourable press appear to have deserted him. Even a report that his daughter, the future Queen, the Infanta Eleonor, would be studying in Wales led to controversy.

Spanish state TV, when announcing the news, said in a graphic that she was leaving Spain like her grandfather. This led to a wave of protest and Spanish TV was forced to take action. There were even questions in parliament. Now, a rapper has been jailed because one of his songs criticised the monarchy. Not good. Overall, I think Spaniards should be pleased with the work of their royal family especially in these difficult times.

There is an important role for the monarchy to play, especially bringing the country together. The problems in Catalonia, where a slim majority of Catalans want a break away, haven´t gone away. I believe that the Spanish royal family deserves a break and warrant the backing of the nation.