Former King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofía, together with Charles, at the state funeral of King Miguel I of Romania, in Bucharest, in April 2017. / EFE

Spanish royals to attend the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II in London on Monday

King Felipe and Queen Letizia will be accompanied by former King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia

MIGUEL ÁNGEL ALFONSO Madrid

Spain’s former king Juan Carlos, who abdicated in 2014, and his wife Queen Sofía have notified the Spanish Royal Household that they are accepting the invitation from the British Foreign Office to attend the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II on Monday. They will therefore be accompanying King Felipe and Queen Letizia in London.

The announcement may be slightly embarrassing for the government, as on Friday Spain’s Foreign Minister José Manuel Albares asked the media not to speculate on who would be attending the funeral as that was up to the government and the Royal Household to decide. Nevertheless, as the invitations from Buckingham Palace have been issued for heads of state and former heads of state and their spouses, the former king and queen were free to decide for themselves whether to go.

There is also another cause for possible embarrassment, as the former king Juan Carlos has a legal case pending in the UK. He was granted the right to appeal against a previous court decision not to grant him immunity from a harassment suit lodged by his former close friend Corinna Larsen.

Family links

There are quite close family links between the Spanish and British royals as they are all related to Queen Victoria in some way, and Queen Sofia and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, were both born into the royal family of Greece and Denmark.

King Felipe was close to the British queen, who he used to call ‘Aunt Lilibet’, and he sent a warm message of condolence to King Charles III upon the news that she had died.

The Queen’s funeral in Westminster Abbey on Monday will be a historical event: no monarch’s funeral service has been held there since the 18th century, although the Queen Mother’s funeral service did take place there in 2002.