Madrid - Spain's King Juan Carlos came under fire Sunday for going on a hunting trip in Botswana while Spaniards grapple with an economic crisis.
“From what we have gathered, it was an irresponsible trip, taken at the most inopportune time,” fumed the centre-right daily El Mundo.
“The spectacle of a monarch hunting elephants in Africa while the economic crisis in our country causes so many problems for the Spanish (conveys) an image of indifference and frivolity,” it said.
The centre-left daily El Pais chided the palace for failing to inform “the government, nor parliament, nor the public” of the king's private trips abroad.
The 74-year-old king's trip came to light because he broke a hip while in Botswana and had to have an emergency hip replacement overnight Friday.
Spanish media said the king had been hunting big game in the southern African country, a popular elephant-shooting destination. The palace would not confirm this, saying only that the trip was private.
Conservative royalist newspaper ABC for its part said the king had a right to a private life and said the critics were “taking advantage of the accident suffered by the king” to criticise him, “thus ignoring his key role in the functioning of our democratic system”. - Sapa-AFP