renewing the monarchy

Felipe VI bars Spanish royals from working in private sector

King introduces new measures to increase transparency and prevent new scandals

Felipe VI has vowed to make the monarchy more transparent.
Felipe VI has vowed to make the monarchy more transparent.Carlos Álvarez / Getty Images

King Felipe VI has established new rules aimed at increasing transparency in the monarchy and avoiding future cases such as the one that has ensnared his sister, Cristina de Borbón, in a tax fraud investigation.

For the first time ever, the royal family’s accounts will be audited by an external agency, mirroring existing practices in Britain, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden and Norway.

Felipe VI, who has been on the throne since June 19, is also drafting a code of conduct that will monitor the kinds of presents the royal family may accept.

In another significant step, members of the royal family will be barred from working in the private sector. While his two daughters are still too young to be affected by this measure, the aim seems to be to prevent another “Nóos” case from hurting the monarchy.

Cristina de Borbón’s husband Iñaki Urdangarin is being investigated for allegedly securing no-bid contracts from the governments of Valencia and the Balearics for his non-profit Nóos Institute, overcharging for tourism and sports events, and channeling the money to private companies. One of these was Aizoon, jointly owned by Urdangarin and his wife.

Cristina de Borbón was also targeted for tax fraud in connection with this investigation, and was forced to testify in court in an unprecedented case in Spanish royal history.

The measures are set to go into effect before December 31 and underscore Felipe VI’s stated goal of “renewing” the institution and restoring its lost prestige.