The two sisters of King Felipe VI acknowledged yesterday, Wednesday 3rd March that they had received the COVID-19 vaccine jabs during a recent visit to the United Arab Emirates, where their father, the former king Juan Carlos I lives in self imposed exile.
The vaccinations of the king’s sisters has been widely criticized across Spain – especially so as neither women are eligible for the vaccination at home.
Their statement came a day after the online news portal El Confidencial reported the incident.
The sisters said they agreed to accept the vaccines “with the goal of obtaining a health passport” that would allow them to regularly visit their father.
Juan Carlos left Spain in August 2020 following a spate of allegations concerning financial irregularities.
Both the left-of-centre coalition government of Pedro Sanchez and the Royal Household of Felipe VI have expressed their displeasure – with the latter at pains to distant itself from the two sisters.
The Royal Household has stressed that neither are any part of the official royal family, although both are officialy in-line to the throne after the king and his two daughters.
The Enfanta Cristina is married to the king´s brother-in-law Iñaki Urdangarin who has just been released from prison after serving 6 years for emblezement.
The leader of the left-wing Podermos Unidas party and junior coalition government partners, Pablo Iglesias, said, “in Spanish society there is a debate about the usefulness of the monarchy that is growing each time the Royal House offers up a new scandal.”
Health Minister, Carolina Darias, of the PSOE senior government coalition partner criticised the two but made a distinction between Felipe and his sisters.
“This country needs exemplary behaviour,” she said. “I look to their majesties for that, because they are waiting just like the immense majority of Spaniards for their turn.”
Spain´s vaccine roll-out is still in the early stage with priority groups such as the very elderly and essential workers, first in line, before working its way down to younger age groups.
There have been incidents of public officials, including the country´s head of the armed forces, having to resign after they were caught jumping the vaccination queue.
Over the last few months the 83 year old Juan Carlos has recently been making moves to settle his financial affairs in the hope that he will soon be able to return to Spain – this latest incident would suggest he should not be packing his bags quite yet.