Royal Rumble: What Really Went Down Between Spain’s Queen Sofia and Queen Letizia

When in public, the royals prefer to smile and project the image of a happy, regal family. But in April 2018, the Spanish royals went off script when some tense moments between Spain’s former and reigning queen were captured on video.

Easter Sunday marked the first time in four years that King Felipe VI, his wife Queen Letizia, and the entire Spanish royal family appeared together. However, all anyone could talk and speculate about was the apparent friction between Letizia and her mother-in-law, Queen Sofia.

Here’s more on how the drama unfolded, the real reasoning behind it, and what another royal had to say about Letizia’s actions.

What the viral video showed

Queen Letizia and her daughters during the incident.
The incident was captured on video and quickly went viral. | Euronews via YouTube

The video that has since gone viral and caused a ton of buzz on social media shows the former Queen Sofia trying to pose for a picture with her granddaughters, Princesses Leonor and Sofía. The current Queen Letizia though repeatedly blocks the photographers from taking any photos.

The young princesses seemed just as confused as their grandmother. When Queen Sofia attempted to ask her daughter-in-law about it, Queen Letizia appeared to snap at her.

The tension continued outside the church when Queen Sofia kissed Leonor on the forehead before Letizia walked over and immediately wiped her daughter’s head.

Next: Other angles show why King Felipe had to calm his wife down. 

King Felipe tried to be a mediator

King Felipe mediating the situation.
King Felipe stepped in. | Newstoday via YouTube

After the initial video made the rounds, several other videos of different angles showed Letizia looking heated before King Felipe moved in to try and defuse the situation.

The video shot from a different direction shows King Felipe recognizing what was going on and trying to be the mediator. The clip shows him saying something to both women and reaching out for his wife’s arm before things got too out of hand. The moment he put his hand on Letizia she turned and walked out of the church.

He was likely unaware of the second awkward scene that occurred out front.

Next: This royal didn’t hold back her feelings about what happened. 

What another royal had to say

Maria-Chantal tweet.
Other royals have sounded off on social media. | Marie-Chantal via Twitter

The uncomfortable moments caused another royal to weigh in on what she thought about the exchange. She was not happy with Letizia.

Marie Chantal of Greece, who is married to Crown Prince Pavlos, King Felipe’s cousin, took to Twitter to express her disappointment in how Letizia acted towards the Queen Mother. She tweeted, “No grandmother deserves that type of treatment! Wow she’s shown her true colours.”

Marie Chantal didn’t stop at that one tweet though. She then posted another which included a photo of her family with the caption, “Happy grandparents! Family is what it’s all about.”

Next: Spanish residents surprised by tense video

The tense moment stuns Spain

Queen Letizia, King Felipe and their two daughters walking on a street.
The family is usually picture-perfect. | Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images

As previously noted, royal families don’t typically display this behavior with so many eyes watching. Therefore, many Spaniards seemed stunned after the video’s release.

Spanish media outlets reported on the spat and The Times noted that Letizia was particularly “concerned and desolate” over how the public reacted to the video.

Next: Letizia’s spokesperson gives explanation about what went down. 

What really went down

Queen Letizia holding her two daughters.
A spokesperson soon released a statement to the public. | News Today via YouTube

Of course, the royal family didn’t not want to leave the public speculating about why Queen Letizia acted the way she did for too long. A spokesperson released a statement soon after the incident explaining why she was blocking the photographer from snapping photos.

The spokesperson said Letizia “is very committed to taking care of her daughters, with the protection of their image, she worries who takes photos of them, she worries where they come from, who approaches them. It’s a very motherly reaction,” adding, “it’s not a serious issue, nothing has happened.”

However, not everyone bought that explanation. Many people on social media questioned why Letizia would worry about having the royal house photographer take her girls’ pictures with their own grandmother.

Next: This royal family has faced other scandals.

Other issues with the Spanish royals

King Felipe Of Spain stands in front of a mural.
The family might need further damage control. | Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images

This hasn’t helped the Spanish royals who have been working to repair their image over the past few years after King Felipe’s sister, Princess Christina, was tried on charges of tax evasion and fraud. Her husband, Iñaki Urdangarin, was found guilty.

On top of that, King Felipe put himself in the middle of the political crisis over Catalonia after he publicly accused Catalonia’s separatist leaders of “inadmissible disloyalty.” And in 2016, Queen Letizia received criticism after text messages surfaced in which she expressed her support for Javier Lopez Madrid, who was accused of corporate credit card abuse.

Next: The two make a public appearance together. 

The queens seem to be getting along after the encounter

Queen Letizia and Queen Sofia standing next to each other.
They were smiling and acting very friendly in public. | Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images

In an effort to save face following the Easter holiday video, the royal ladies ventured out together on April 7, 2018. The two visited Queen Sofia’s husband, Juan Carlos, after he underwent knee surgery.

Hoping to mask any drama, the two women were of course smiling for the cameras while Leonor and young Sofia held their grandmother’s hand.

Follow Michelle Kapusta on Twitter @philamichelle.

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