Spanish demand apology from Belgian Prince Joachim over lockdown party

Spanish demand apology from Belgian Prince Joachim over lockdown party
Prince Joachim of Belgium. © Belga

The Spanish authorities are calling for an investigation into the illegal party attended by Belgium’s Prince Joachim, the son of Princess Astrid, and for exemplary sentences for those found guilty.

Meanwhile the Spanish press has called for an apology from the prince for his behaviour, and for bringing the royal family into disrepute.

Yesterday it was reported that Prince Joachim, the youngest son of Princess Astrid and nephew of the king, had attended a lockdown party last Tuesday at which 27 people were present.

The event was discovered when Joachim reported symptoms of the coronavirus Covid-19. Contact tracers later tracked down the people who had attended.

Under Spanish regulations, private gatherings can take place with a maximum of 15 people attending.

Prince Joachim and others who attended are now in quarantine, but it is his involvement that is attracting the most attention – and the most questions.

The prince, aged 28, left Brussels on May 24 and flew to Madrid, where instead of going into quarantine he immediately took a train to Córdoba in Andalucia. His reason for being in Spain was to take up an internship – work is one of the exceptions to the ban on travel.

In Córdoba the prince also has a friend with whom he has carried on a discreet relationship for some time. Whether she too was at the party is not known.

Now the head of the security office in Córdoba, Miguel Ángel Torrico, has called for a full investigation of the event, which he described as “extremely irresponsible”.

They have endangered all of us,” he said. “And that must be punished to the full extent of the law.”

Under the lockdown regulations currently in force in Spain, anyone attending a gathering of more than 15 people is liable to a fine of between €600 and €10,000.

To make matters worse, the party took place the evening before the beginning of a tend-day period of national mourning for the country’s 27,000 dead from Covid-19.

The Spanish newspaper El Mundo concentrated on Prince Joachim (which the Spanish spell Joaquín) of the 27 people present.

Joaquin has placed the royal family of this small, European country, where scandals are never lacking, in a very compromising situation,” the paper writes, going on to describe some of those scandals: the long refusal of King Albert to recognise his daughter Delphine Boël and the “endless failures of Prince Laurent, the black sheep of the nobility”.

The editorial goes on: “King Philippe and Queen Mathilde do impeccable work, however, extraordinarily righteous and exemplary. The king and queen and their four children, including the crown princess, have set a good example in this corona crisis by supporting the sick. For Princess Astrid, known for her seriousness and valued as the country's trade ambassador, this is a serious blow. Her son's irresponsibility and immaturity is a scandal for the crown, and damages the image of the royal family abroad.”

The royal family, and Princess Astrid and Prince Lorenz in particular, have yet to comment on the prince’s situation.

Alan Hope

The Brussels Times

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