13 Mar, 2024 @ 12:08
2 mins read

‘It’s their black winter’: Commentators in Spain react to series of events that have ‘damaged’ the UK Royal Family’s ‘brand’ – including Princess Kate’s ‘photogate’

COMMENTATORS in Spain have had their say on the intense speculation surrounding the UK’s Royal Family following a series of events that have caused a ‘royal crisis’ – including ‘photogate’.

Barcelona-based daily La Vanguardia have labelled the turbulent period as the Royal Family’s ‘black winter’ and ‘their toughest moment for a long time’.

The comments come after a series of events which have destabilised the royals and provoked interest in Spain and beyond.

Queen Elizabeth II’s passing, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s acrimonious departure from the ‘Firm’, and Prince Andrew’s association with sex-offender Jeffrey Epstien have all ‘damaged’ the reputation of the crown.

The past winter has been characterised by a series of health scares, including King Charles III’s cancer diagnosis, and Sarah, Duchess of York beginning treatment for skin cancer.

Events such as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s turbulent move to the US have shaken the once-stable Royal Family. Credit: Cordon Press

On January 17, Kensington Palace also issued a statement saying that Catherine, Princess of Wales, had undergone ‘planned abdominal surgery’ and would remain in hospital for two weeks.

Kate Middleton has not been seen in public since, with rumours intensifying over her health.

Last month, royal officials were said to be furious after ‘unfounded’ claims over the princess’ health were spread on Fiesta, a popular Spanish news programme hosted by Concha Calleja.

The journalist, 59, claimed that the princess’s life was “in great danger”, and doctors chose to “put her in an induced coma”, a claim that Kensington Palace categorically deny.

Kate’s ‘disappearance’, as many have called her break from public duties, has provoked wild speculation in tabloids, magazines and on social media.

The hashtag #WhereIsKate has trended on social media, with conspiracies ranging from a mental health crisis, divorce from William, plastic surgery or even donating a kidney to King Charles III.

The subject even has its own Wikipedia page, such is the interest and depth of speculation.

Rumours and criticism have intensified since ‘photogate’, the family photo released in the hope of ending speculation which backfired spectacularly after leading media agencies ‘killed’ the photo after it emerged that the image had been manipulated.

La Vanguardia have likened the royal crisis to ‘Watergate’, the scandal that brought down US President Richard Nixon, and the infamous annus horribilis of 1992 which saw divorces for Prince Andrew and Princess Anne, increasing speculation over Diana and Charles’ marriage, and a fire that caused extensive damage to Windsor Castle.

Catherine, Kate Middleton, Princess of Wales has not been seen in public since a Christmas Day church service. Credit: Cordon Press

Catalunya’s leading newspaper also said: “The Windsors, in their winter of discontent, are undermining their credibility pixel by pixel, secret by secret, and becoming a virtual family. A lesson on how to destroy a brand”.

El Pais, Spain’s paper of record, have called ‘photogate’ a “crisis of credibility” that “reflects the lack of control in the communication of the royal family”.

Emilia Landaluce, writing in El Mundo, expressed sympathy with the Princess of Wales, saying “no-one wants to be Kate or Letizia”, referring to the Queen of Spain, as you become “questioned, analysed and vulnerable to betrayals”.


Ben Pawlowski

Ben joined the Olive Press in January 2024 after a four-month stint teaching English in Paraguay. He loves the adrenaline rush of a breaking news story and the tireless work required to uncover an eye-opening exclusive. He is currently based in Barcelona from where he covers the city, the wider Catalunya region, and the north of Spain. Send tips to [email protected]

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