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New Spain king moves to clean up palace’s image

July 28, 2014

MADRID (AP) — Spain’s royal palace accounts will be subject to external audits and the results made public under a series of measure ordered by new King Felipe VI in an apparent bid to clean up the royal family’s tarnished image.

A Palace statement said Monday that the measures include plans for a new code of good conduct, a ban on immediate royal family members working outside the Palace and greater control of gifts received by the royal family.

Felipe, 46, became king last month after his father, Juan Carlos, announced he was stepping down after a four-decade reign to allow younger royal blood to rally a country trying to shrug off an economic crisis and a 26 percent jobless rate.

However, the palace had become embroiled in several scandals in recent years and Felipe said he intended to restore public trust in the monarchy.

The statement said the royal family will comprise of Felipe, his wife, Queen Letizia, his parents — Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia — and his two children.

Felipe’s sisters, Elena and Cristina, will no longer officially be part of the royal family. Although they will retain the title infanta, they will no longer be on the Palace payroll. They can continue to work in the private sector.

The most serious scandal affecting the royal family concerns Cristina, who is a suspect in a corruption and embezzlement investigation centering on her husband.

Cristina, 49, became the first Spanish royal to be questioned in court since the monarchy was restored in 1975 when she testified in the case in February.

Juan Carlos, was held in high esteem for his role in steering Spain from military dictatorship to democracy. He took over the throne in 1975, two days after the death of longtime dictator Gen. Francisco Franco.

But he sparked public anger by taking a secret elephant hunting trip to Botswana in 2012 at the height of Spain’s financial crisis.

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