Spanish princesses skip vaccine queue by getting jabs in the UAE

James Badcock
·2-min read
Princess Cristina of Spain received a Covid vaccine in the UAE - Carlos Alvarez /Getty Images
Princess Cristina of Spain received a Covid vaccine in the UAE - Carlos Alvarez /Getty Images

Members of Spain’s government have criticised the Spanish royal family after it emerged that King Felipe’s two sisters received Covid vaccinations during a visit to UAE instead of waiting their turn in Spain.

“Their privileges come before the people they claim to represent,” the Left-wing Podemos party, the junior member of Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez’s coalition government, said in a tweet.

Pablo Iglesias, Podemos’s leader and deputy prime minister, said society “won’t accept that royal family members have vaccinations in Abu Dhabi when the rest of the Spanish people are queueing up with discipline for their turn”.

The online newspaper El Confidencial revealed on Tuesday evening that princesses Elena and Cristina, both in their fifties, had been vaccinated when visiting exiled father Juan Carlos in Abu Dhabi a month ago.

They would still have to wait months for jabs in Spain due to their age. According to Spain’s vaccination programme, the elderly in care homes and many key workers have been vaccinated, with the over-80s the current focus of the campaign.

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The Royal Household said that King Felipe “is not responsible for his sisters’ behaviour”.

Felipe stripped his sister Cristina of her title of Duchess of Palma of Mallorca after she and her husband, Iñaki Urdangarin, were put on trial on charges of fraud and corruption in 2016. Cristina was acquitted but Urdangarin is serving a six-year jail sentence.

Princess Elena, who like her sister no longer receives state funding, admitted that she and Cristina had been vaccinated while visiting former king Juan Carlos in UAE, “with the idea of having a healthcare passport that would allow us to do so more regularly”.

Juan Carlos has lived in Abu Dhabi since last August, when he left Spain after the country’s Supreme Court opened an investigation into alleged financial impropriety.

Last week the former king, who abdicated in 2014 after a series of scandals, made a payment of 4.4 million euros to Spain’s tax agency in a bid to ward off a possible accusation of tax fraud.

The 83-year-old is also reported to have had the Sinopharm vaccine in UAE.

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