Spain protest during COVID-19 lockdown against King Felipe VI

Even in the traditionally conservative neighbourhoods of Madrid the noise of the banging of pots and pans was deafening, nearly silencing Felipe’s uplifting words urging Spaniards to beat the epidemic together.

A woman watching King Felipe VI's speech at home in Madrid, Spain.

A woman watching King Felipe VI’s speech at home in Madrid, Spain. Credit:Getty Images

“Now we must put aside our differences. We must unite around the same objective: to overcome this serious situation. And we have to do it together … with serenity and confidence, but also with determination and energy,” Felipe said.

It was his first extraordinary address to the nation since 2017, at the height of a constitutional crisis caused by a short-lived declaration of independence by Catalan separatists.

On Wednesday night, the sound of pots and pans rang, too, in the streets of Barcelona, where the protest had been called by separatist parties.

Felipe said on Sunday he had renounced his inheritance from his father and stripped the ex-monarch of his palace allowance.

A Swiss newspaper has reported that while he was king, Juan Carlos accepted $US100 million ($179 million) from Saudi Arabia. Juan Carlos, who abdicated in 2014 after nearly 40 years on the throne, has not commented on the report.

HE allegedly received €88 million ($158 million) from the late Saudi king Abdullah in 2008, which prosecutors believe could be kickback payments, according to the Tribune de Geneva.

On Saturday, British newspaper The Telegraph reported that Felipe was named as a beneficiary of an offshore fund that controls the Swiss account with an alleged €65 million ($126 million) gift in it.

The royal household said in a statement that Juan Carlos had not told his son about the Saudi funds.

Gestha, the union that represents Spain’s tax inspectors, issued a statement on Tuesday asking Spain’s AEAT tax agency to open an investigation into Juan Carlos for “alleged tax fraud and money laundering” from 2015.

Reuters, agencies

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