New king rules out free gifts for Spain’s royals

King Felipe VI on Thursday laid out new rules for Spain's royal family that will prevent members from accepting free flights on commercial airlines, luxury gifts or favours which 'could compromise the dignity of the institution'.

New king rules out free gifts for Spain's royals
Felipe's father, King Juan Carlos, enjoyed private gifts including the €18 million ($22 million) yacht, Fortuna, now renamed and up for sale. Photo: JAIME REINA / AFP

The new king announced that, as of January 1st 2015, his family would no longer accept gifts and privileges of the kind which caused controversy during the reign of his father, King Juan Carlos I.

The previous monarch, who abdicated last year in favour of his son, received gifts including an €18 million ($22.2 million) yacht, the Fortuna, from a group of businessmen, and two Ferraris from the Prime Minister of the UAE.

When the new rules come into effect, King Juan Carlos will be obliged to turn down such generous offers. He and his wife, Queen Sofia, are included in the 'no freebies' list along with the new king, Queen Letizia, and their two daughters, according to Spanish daily Publico.

The rules specify that free flights on commercial aircraft and personal gifts "that could compromise the dignity of their institutional functions" must be refused.

Felipe's announced the changes last year when he was proclaimed king. Other measures designed to modernize the royal family included reducing its official members to only those included in the new list and stripping royal status from his two sisters. One of them, Elena, still sometimes represents the family at official events but the other, Cristina, is embroiled in the Noos tax-fraud scandal.

Felipe said that the changes were designed to "embody a renewed monarchy" that had "integrity, honesty and transparency" in order to avoid repeating mistakes of the past.

Additional rules were announced for employees of the royal family, obliging them to "behave in an exemplary manner" to help build public trust, respect and confidence in the institution, according to a palace spokesperson.

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