What a snub!
|Queen Sofia of Spain has been ordered to turn down an invitation from the Queen to a Diamond Jubilee lunch for the world's sovereign monarchs because of an escalating diplomatic row over Gibraltar, said reports in Britain and elsewhere.
The Spanish government expressed its "upset and concern" over the visit by the Queen's youngest son and his wife to the territory, a tiny peninsula sitting at Spain's southwestern corner over which it still claims sovereignty. At the time however, it seemed unlikely to take the matter further, reports The Telegraph.
In fact, when asked if Queen Sofia would still be attending the Windsor Castle event, Jose Garcia-Margallo, Spain's foreign minister confirmed she would be free to do so in a "private capacity".
However, in a sudden U-turn and with less than 48 hours until the lunch, Spain's royal household disclosed that the government had ordered Queen Sofia to reject the invitation to Windsor Castle, where kings and queens from around the world will convene to celebrate the Queen's 60 years on the throne.
The Royal Palace says Queen Sofia has cancelled a visit to London at the request of the government because of fresh disagreements over the disputed British colony of Gibraltar on Spainís southern tip, says the Washington Post.
A spokesman said Thursday the decision was made because the government felt it inappropriate for the queen to take part in Queen Elizabeth IIís jubilee events given the circumstances.
Spain last week complained to Britain over an upcoming visit to Gibraltar by Britainís Prince Edward.
Spain's Queen Sofia has snubbed Britain's royal family by abandoning a planned trip to celebrate the Queen's jubilee with them in protest at an upcoming visit to Gibraltar by Prince Edward, The Guardian reports.
"The government has considered that, under the current circumstances, it would be inappropriate for Queen Sofia to attend Queen Elizabeth's jubilee," a statement from the royal palace in Madrid said.
Relations between Britain and Spain over Gibraltar have returned to a state of growing confrontation since Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's People's party took power in December.
The cancellation came as Spain's royal family was under intense scrutiny at home after King Juan Carlos was forced to apologise for going elephant-hunting in Botswana while ordinary Spaniards suffered austerity, recession and unemployment.
Conservative commentators in Spain are routinely enraged by royal visits to Gibraltar, and the visit by Prince Edward was no exception.
The paper adds: The Queen's trip to join in the celebrations may also have looked awkward alongside the complete absence of public celebration in Spain to mark the golden wedding of Sofia and Juan Carlos last week.
An article in The telegraph by Tom Chivers says
Queen Sofia of Spain, apparently, has decided not to attend a big lunch for the world's surviving monarchs at Windsor Castle tomorrow, held in celebration of the Queen's Jubilee, in what appears to be a pathetic childish tantrum over Gibraltar. Apparently the fact that the Earl and Countess of Wessex plan to visit the flyspeck peninsula on Spain's south-west corner has so upset the Spanish government that it would be "inappropriate in the current circumstances" for Queen Sofia to join the various other bejewelled toffs for lunch.
He adds: If the people of Gibraltar wanted to be a part of Spain, then they should be entitled to it, as is their democratic right. But 10 years ago they were asked in a referendum whether they wanted Britain and Spain to share sovereignty, and they rejected it by a slender margin of 99 to 1. Why should it matter if some minor members of our Royal family wander over there as part of the Jubilee celebrations? Gibraltans like being a British Overseas Territory. If they want to have a posh man come and wave at them, they are allowed to.
Going around pretending your country has some divine right to ownership of some other bit of the world is just stupid.
It was private visit
Questioned about the Spanish veto of Queen Sofia's attendance at Diamond Jubilee lunch, an FCO spokesperson said: ďIt was a private commitment. We do not comment on private visits.Ē