The Royal Invitation to Majorca
Everyone was master of himself. This is how Carlo and Diana lived the four summers spent in Majorca at the invitation of King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia. The first time the Prince and Princess of Wales stayed at Palazzo Marivent was in August 1986. That spring, the two dynasties had just re-established good relations with the official visit of the Bourbons and their consort to the kingdom of Windsor.
The Political Repercussions
Political ties between the two countries had cooled in 1981 after the Spanish monarch refused to attend the couple’s wedding, citing as provocation the decision of the Royal House to include Gibraltar in the honeymoon itinerary. As Head of State, Elizabeth II was concerned about bilateral relations with her relatives (both she and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, and the King and Queen of Spain descend from Queen Victoria), but as a mother, Queen and head of the Anglican Church, she was genuinely concerned about the declared cold war between her eldest son and daughter-in-law. She was so worried about a future break in everyone’s eyes (especially the tabloids) that she sent them and her two sons to Palma, William and Harry on the same plane, regardless of the fact that two heirs should never have shared a plane.
The Trip to Majorca
Her Majesty hoped that the couple “would see the light” in the warm waters of the Mediterranean or at least, thanks to the “inestimable example” of the hosts, learn to feign a regal mutual sympathy between the parties. It was not so. Carlo and Diana only endured the flight from Lutton to the airbase of Son Sant Joan and the short journey to the official residence of the Spanish royal family in the Balearics together. At the gate they were welcomed by their compatriots who waved plastic flags with princely contours imprinted on the Union Jack. The recycled merchandise from the wedding hinted that the public still believed in their never-existing love story. During the press photos in front of the Spanish royal palace, the princes of Wales did not speak to each other. King Carlos III chatted with the Spanish queen and Lady Di joked with the king. Prince Harry, almost three years old, followed by his brother William, four years old, enlivened the photos playing with Archy, Juan Carlos and Sofia’s German shepherd. Bored by so many caresses, the youngest had sat on the steps outside the front door of the house. The Prince of Asturias, the King and Queen of Spain, the Prince and Princess of Wales and Prince William and Prince Harry at Marivent in 1986. Carlo then did not wait for his wife and left for the autumnal Balmoral a day earlier. According to journalist Andrew Morton, Diana Spencer confessed to him that “I spent the first trip to Majorca with my head in the toilet. I hated it.”