Clash of the queens: Spanish royalty's unseemly moment
A viral video reveals the matriarchal tension between Queen Letizia and her mother-in-law, Queen Sofia
Spain's royal family has long been plagued by rumours of tensions between Queen Letizia and her mother-in-law, Queen Sofia.
Now, a video of the pair appearing to clash over a family photo after Easter Mass has reignited claims of a matriarchal feud in the House of Bourbon.
The royal family were making their way out of Palma Cathedral in Majorca on Sunday when Queen Sofia attempted to pose for the cameras with her two grandchildren, Princess Leonor, 12, and Infanta Sofia, 10.Queen Letizia was seen repeatedly walking in front of the trio in an apparent bid to block the shot before approaching Princess Leonor and seemingly trying to dislodge her mother-in-law’s hand from her daughter’s shoulder.
As King Felipe VI appears to try to mediate between the two women, Princess Leonor then becomes frustrated with the tussling and thrusts both of their hands away.The video, which has been viewed millions of times since it was posted on Tuesday, has prompted analysis on morning talk shows and headlines deploring the royal “squabble”.
A royal relative of Queen Sofia, the 79-year-old wife of former king Juan Carlos, also stepped in to publicly criticise Queen Letizia’s behaviour.
Princess Marie-Chantal of Greece, the London-based wife of Sofia’s nephew, Crown Prince Pavlos, spoke out over the scene in a series of tweets, describing it as “so awful”.
“This makes me feel so angry!” Marie-Chantal wrote. “No grandmother deserves that type of treatment! Wow she’s [Letizia] shown her true colours.”
Martín Bianchi Tasso, the society editor at Spain’s Vanity Fair magazine, insisted that “all the Spanish people are pretty angry” with Letizia’s actions towards the Queen Mother.The furore even drew in Pedro Sanchez, the leader of Spain’s opposition, who said such arguments occurred in all families. “Relationships with the in-laws are always complicated,” he told Onda Cero, the Spanish radio station.
Jaime Peafiel, a journalist who covers the Spanish royal family, said he was not surprised by the incident. He said Queen Sofia had complained not long ago to friends that Queen Letizia did not let her see her grandchildren, while they had made similar claims at school. The Queen Mother had suffered several “humiliations” at the hands of her daughter-in-law, he wrote in El Mundo, the national newspaper.Queen Sofia is rarely seen with Leonor and Sofia and is reportedly required to give substantial notice if she wishes to spend time with them, while Queen Letizia’s side of the family are granted freer access.According to El Confidencial, the online newspaper, Queen Letizia previously had a good relationship with her mother-in-law, who came out in her defence in 2003 after the former journalist told King Juan-Carlos to “let me finish” during the announcement of her engagement to Felipe.In public, the 45-year-old Queen Letizia has always expressed appreciation for her mother-in-law. But behind the scenes the relationship is said to have begun to sour after the 2008 publication of a book by Pilar Urbano, the journalist and biographer, based on conversations with Queen Sofia.
Letizia was reportedly unhappy with some of Queen Sofia’s revelations – which the royal family claimed had been misrepresented – in particular that Princess Leonor was instructing her young cousins on eating antioxidant foods. Since then, Queen Sofia has never publicly commented on her grandchildren.
Imma Aguilar, a former colleague and friend of Queen Letizia, told TeleMadrid, the public television station, yesterday that the queen was “worried and quite desolate”.
Letizia dismissed the incident as “silliness” and a “natural gesture”, Aguilar said.
– © The Daily Telegraph