Spain is suffering from record unemployment. A real estate boom has gone to bust. Its banking sector is near collapse, and will have to be bailed out by the European Union. With his country in such dire straits, one might expect a wise monarch both to express sympathy with the travails of his subjects and to avoid conspicuous Gatsbian excesses.
King Juan Carlos decided on a different strategy. He went hunting for elephants in Botswana, and was photographed posing, holding a rifle, in front of his dead pachyderm quarry. Big game hunting in Africa has long been a pastime of European nobility, so what was the problem? Well, not only does the extravagance of African trophy hunting juxtapose sourly with the current economic malaise in his own kingdom, but the Spanish king also happens to be the president of the World Wildlife Fund ("WWF") in Spain. The Spanish WWF was not amused, and summarily deposed Juan Carlos from his position as its leader, explaining
Although this type of hunting is legal and regulated, it has been deemed incompatible by many members with the honorary presidency of an international organisation that defends wildlife and the environment like WWF.
Such behavior may not be the best strategy to endear the monarchy to the people of Spain. For Juan Carlos, it would be no surprise if "Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown." Perhaps Moxy Früvous was being prophetic when they sang,
Once I was the King of Spain (now I eat humble pie)A palatial palace, that was my home (now I eat humble pie)I'm telling you I was the King of Spain (now I eat humble pie)And now I vacuum the turf at SkyDome (once he was the King of Spain)
Elephants never forget. Will Spain?