Queen Sofía of Spain made a rare public appearance on Saturday as she helped host a reception for local officials in Mallorca. The 83-year-old accompanied her son, King Felipe VI, and daughter-in-law, Queen Letizia, at the annual evening event for local dignitaries and representatives from across the island.
It was the first time Queen Sofía has undertaken a public engagement for several weeks.Sofía’s husband, former King Juan Carlos I, abdicated the throne in 2014 amid a scandal over his alleged financial irregularities.
Six years later, Juan Carlos fled his country and, despite the investigations into his finances being dropped, still resides in the United Arab Emirates. He abdicated in favour of his son, and since Felipe ascended the throne, he, Letizia and Sofía have had to steadily battle against the family’s tarnished reputation.
Juan Carlos had previously been the centre of controversy following a trip to Botswana, during which he participated in an elephant hunting safari.It was for this reason that only Sofía was invited to an important event for the British Royal Family — a lunch at Windsor Castle to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012.
However, a last-minute decision saw the former Queen of Spain pull out of the celebratory event, a move that one royal expert has slammed as a “calculated snub”.
Writing for his column in the Daily Mail at the time, Richard Kay said: “The Queen was dealt an extraordinary and calculated snub last night that threatens to tarnish her Diamond Jubilee celebrations.
“Just two days before Her Majesty was due to welcome the crowned heads of Europe’s royal houses to an elaborate Windsor Castle lunch, Spain’s Queen Sofía dramatically pulled out of the event.“A spokesman for the Spanish royals snootily declared that Sofía’s presence would be ‘inappropriate in the current circumstances’.”
The decision, orchestrated by the Spanish government, came a week after it made a formal protest to the UK against the Queen’s youngest son’s visit to Gibraltar.
Prince Edward and his wife Sophie, Countess of Wessex spent three days on the British rock as part of a Commonwealth-wide effort to mark the Jubilee.
Mr Kay claimed that royal insiders said the Queen would be “dismayed” by Sofía’s absence and that the “joyful celebration” had been “hijacked by political machinations”.