The King and his family on holiday in Majorca.

11-08-2014Ballesteros - VACACIONES EN MALL

A year after King Felipe VI took the throne on the abdication of Juan Carlos opinion polls show that he has strengthened the standing of a monarchy tainted by scandal.
Felipe VI has strengthened the standing of Spain’s monarchy in his first year as king, surprising the country by squaring up to scandal - but its future remains uncertain as a fresh political generation comes of age.
With new protest parties carving up the vote ahead of a general election due by the end of this year, royal-watchers say the 47-year old king is re-tuning the role of the monarchy.
He took the country by surprise last week when he faced his family’s biggest scandal head-on, stripping the title Duchess of Palma from his sister Cristina, who has been called to stand trial for alleged tax evasion.
Spaniards’ support for Spain’s system of constitutional monarchy has risen to 61.5 percent, according to a survey by pollster Sigma Dos.
The poll was taken before the announcement about Cristina.
The score was higher than the 60 percent approval level reached by Juan Carlos at the height of his popularity, which was driven down later by scandals.
Having launched a new palace code of conduct last year and published details of its spending, Felipe has also reached out to ordinary Spaniards and civil society.
“He knows that a monarchy has to be run in the street, in touch with people and real life,” Cesar de la Lama, a biographer of the current king’s father.
In his first year Felipe has granted about 100 audiences, including to various non-governmental movements such as gay rights’ groups.
“He has aimed his message much more at social groups, at the person in the street, than at the establishment,” said royal specialist author Fermin Urbiola.
A frail, tearful Juan Carlos gave up the crown in a ceremony at the palace on 19 June  last year, hoping his heir would save the monarchy’s image.
Juan Carlos had outraged Spaniards in 2012 by going elephant hunting in Botswana at the height of Spain’s recession.


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