Tuesday, July 5

Gifts to the Royal House in 2021: hats, earrings, many books but no trace of the emeritus’s jet

Hats, facsimiles, books, a sword, a reproduction of a Goya and sports equipment. They are some of the 307 institutional gifts that Felipe VI, Queen Letizia and her daughters and the Queen Emeritus have received throughout 2021, according to the list published this Friday by the Royal House itself, and in which there is no trace of the gifts received by Juan Carlos I, such as the private jet trip he took to come to Spain and which was courtesy of the emir of whom he is a guest in Abu Dhabi, for being away from the family’s institutional activity since 2019, despite that these gifts would exceed “the social or courtesy uses” required by the regulations.

Of these more than 300 institutional gifts, which do not include those that the family receives on a personal basis, 170 have been taken by Felipe VI. The queen has received 40. During the past year, the king has received gifts from personalities such as the president of Ecuador, Guillermo Lasso, during his visit to that country, or the president of Colombia, Iván Duque, when he visited Spain. They both gave him a hat. During his state visit, the President of the Republic of Korea, Moon Jae-In, brought a tea set for the king and recycled glass vases for the queen, as well as a royal painting for the couple.

The year 2021 has been the second least prolific in institutional gifts for the Royal House since there are records. In the case of Felipe VI, however, the last year he has received more gifts than in 2015, 2016 and 2020. The fewest gifts they received was in 2020, when the pandemic paralyzed the activity of the entire country and forced confinement for weeks. Institutional events and international travel were also reduced due to the restrictions imposed by the pandemic. That year, the Royal House received 246 gifts.

The same thing happens if it is broken down by months. In 2020, a drop is clearly seen in the month of March, when confinement was decreed due to the health crisis, and an increase is seen in the summer months, when restrictions were relaxed. At that time, the kings began a tour to be seen throughout the country. Except for that summer, the month of August is the month with the least activity and, therefore, with the fewest events in which institutional details are given, as can be seen in the graphs referring to the rest of the exercises.

In 2021, the members of the Royal House had 411 activities inside and outside of Spain, 240 audiences, received 1,258 people and made 13 trips abroad. They were in France, Portugal, Senegal, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Paraguay, Liechtenstein, Andorra and Sweden, a visit that had great relevance within the Royal House’s agenda, as it was the first of its kind to that country. There they were entertained by the Swedish authorities. Photographs, books, vases and candle holders by the kings; crystal chandeliers and a parliamentary photo album; or the keys to the city of Stockholm.

Family members have received a large number of books. For example, the Royal Spanish Academy presented Felipe VI with a copy of ‘Romancero Gitano’ and another of ‘The doctor of honor for him and the mayor of Zalamea’, during a meeting of the foundation’s board of trustees in November. Other gifts have been of a more informal nature: a Portuguese national team shirt, a gift from the president of Portugal, Rebelo de Sousa on the occasion of the presentation of the Iberian candidacy for the 2030 FIFA World Cup; one from Atlético de Madrid, in the same event; or the kit for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, by the Spanish Olympic Committee.

Precisely, Rebelo de Sousa is the one who has given the most institutional gifts to the members of the Royal House since they were published, in 2015, he has given 25 gifts. Below, a list of Spanish institutions: the National Currency and Stamp Factory, Cervantes, Post Office, the Royal Spanish Football Federation, the Royal Mint, the Princess of Asturias Foundation, the Spanish Olympic Committee and the Royal Academy Spanish.

Although books are one of the most repeated gifts, Queen Letizia has also received brooches, bracelets, dresses and tablecloths. A good part of the 40 institutional gifts that she received in 2021 were given to her during her trip to Paraguay in November. She crafts, clothes, hats, t-shirts, ceramics, bags and wallets, pendants, coats and espadrilles, until completing 21 boxes on the list of the Royal House.

In January 2015, after the abdication of Juan Carlos de Borbón and six months after the coronation of Felipe VI, the Royal House published a regulation with which he wanted to regulate gifts for members of the Royal Family. In the image of the Transparency Law, which had entered into force in December, this institution self-imposed a set of rules on the gifts received by the kings and their daughters. The main novelty was that they should make public, every year, all the gifts received. But not all: only those who were given to them institutionally. That is, those offered by host authorities and organizers of events, by public administrations or national and international entities and institutions or by authorities of a foreign State.

These gifts cannot exceed “social or courtesy uses”. It is the same tagline that is applied in the law that regulates gifts to members of the Government and remains of public officials, but in no case is it established what gifts or what economic valuation of these is considered higher than that allowed. Therefore, deciding what is excessive or not is up to the recipient of the gift. In addition, “in the case of gifts of greater institutional relevance, they will be incorporated into the assets of the corresponding Public Administration,” the regulations state.

Other types of gifts remain off the radar, those that members of the Royal Family receive on a personal basis. On these, they are not obliged to render accounts, although “they can only be accepted when they do not exceed social or courtesy uses.” If they exceed these uses, they must follow “the same treatment as gifts of an institutional nature, or else be transferred to a non-profit entity”.