'Civil War' tensions help Spanish monarchy, says British historian

11th November 2004, Comments 0 comments

11 November 2004, LONDON-British historian Paul Preston claims the ascension of Prince Felipe to the Spanish throne will be helped by tensions from the Spanish Civil War which still exist.

11 November 2004

LONDON-British historian Paul Preston claims the ascension of Prince Felipe to the Spanish throne will be helped by tensions from the Spanish Civil War which still exist.

The respected Hispanisist said: "The monarchy as an institution depends on what happens following the disappearance or withdrawal of King Juan Carlos, whose role in the peaceful transition to democracy was crucial."

"He earned his own legitimacy," he said, adding that the continuity of the crown will depend largely on the actions of Prince Felipe, whose ascension to the throne will be helped by "the fact that tensions dating back to the civil war and dictatorship still exist in Spain."

"The role of Juan Carlos' monarchy as moderator could continue with Felipe, who would embody a head of state beyond the (political) parties."

Preston said he feared that if Spain's head of state were democratically elected, "I'm afraid that would introduce another source of tension into the political system."

Nonetheless, the fact that Felipe "is a very intelligent and well educated person" is a factor that works in favour of the heir to the Spanish throne, said Preston.

Preston said Queen Sofia's professionalism and character have contributed to the Spanish monarchy's popularity among Spaniards.

During a series of talks on Spanish queens held at London's Cervantes Institute, Preston said Sofia's upbringing by Queen Federica of Greece and the Greek monarchy's experience with coups and living in exile had also helped make the royal family popular.

"During a moment of considerable vulnerability, marriage gave Prince Juan Carlos significant emotional support and, with his strategic and tactical sense, helped him fight off the factions striving to succeed (the dictatorship of Gen. Francisco) Franco," Preston said in an interview with EFE news agency.

The historian added Sofia helped "lay bridges" between the royal family and Spanish people, converting the monarchy into "a symbol of the national family, something that the British royal family has failed to do."

The strength of the British royal family, he said, lies in its ability to weather almost daily attacks by the British press "without fear that it is going to teeter."

"The respect that the monarchy in Spain receives may be considered to a certain extent to be a sign of the fear with which one treats a delicate flower," he said.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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