Yesterday's column by Peñafiel dealt with last week's small controversy about the erratic information policy of the royal house concerning the rumour Letizia and/or Felipe had gone to the Valdebernardo apartment in the morning the sister was found.
On February 11 Peñafiel wrote a column criticizing the royal house advisors for having prevented Letizia from going to meet her parents at the apartment, but as the newspaper was published a note had to be included in which it was stated that the royal house denied having prevented Letizia from going and confirmed she did go.
Story of a “Clarification”
As a believer, when I sin, I regret it; as person, when I offend someone, I apologize; and as journalist, when I am mistaken, I always correct myself.
Today’s chronicle is the story of a clarification note that was misunderstood and misinterpreted by many people who, even in good faith, taught it had been published following a demand of the Royal House concerning an information mentioned last Sunday in my weekly column in the Crónica
supplement [of the newspaper El Mundo
], which is printed on Saturday morning. It could hardly be this way, since the clarifying note was inserted, at my request, on Saturday evening, when the newspaper edition was about to close, since it was materially impossible to include a longer chronicle. For all these reasons, it was impossible for the Zarzuela [i.e., the Royal House] to have requested a correction on a story that they did not know yet and that would not be published until Sunday morning. All those who saw the mentioned explanation a slanted, tricky or mistaken, or who simply did not understand it, as Eduardo Sotillos, a member of a discussion panel at the TV channel La Sexta (“it comes as a surprise that the only correction demanded by the Zarzuela about everything that has been published on the death of Érika has been precisely directed to that guru of the monarchy, Jaime Peñafiel”), force to me to remind them that the Royal House has always been very respectful, exquisitely respectful, I would say, towards my freedom of expression, even if sometimes they do not share my opinions or I go too far in expressing these opinions, being as they are subjectively critical.
A clear demonstration of the fluid relationship the House maintains with this journalist [meaning himself, Peñafiel] is the story that will be the topic for today’s column and that I proceed to tell.
Érika’s Parents, the Only Ones Who Could
Because of the respect due to the parents of the ill-fated young woman, Zarzuela Palace, always so cautious when dealing with certain subjects, abstained from issuing any news on the matter, from the very moment in which the tragic death of Érika was known. They thought that this responsibility fell on Jesus Ortiz, her father. They only accepted to give the collaboration and help that was requested to them in what concerned the deployment of security personnel around number 40 of Ladera de los Almendros Street, in the Madrilenian district of Valdebernardo, where Érika had lived since her sister handed the apartment over to her when she married. As a result of this lack of information and the impossibility to get confirmation neither by the Royal House nor, by all means, by the Ortiz family about the whole crazy flow of news and rumors arising in the late morning of last Wednesday, people started taking for true some facts that could have happened, or could be happening or not, inside the walls of the apartment in which Érika had been found. The only fact that was possible to confirm was the presence of the parents (although nobody saw them), the first ones to arrive after they were informed by Roberto García, the young woman’s boyfriend.
The first thing I was interested to find out, as all other journalists, was whether Letizia had also gone to her sister’s home. We all came to assume that she had been advised not to go, given her advanced state of pregnancy. This was the impression I reflected in my Crónica
column. The matter could have remained like this, without a denial being issued. However, when I heard journalist Gustavo González, on the Antena 3 program Where Are You My Heart?
, saying that the one who possibly did go was the Prince, I was compelled to contact the Real House. Don Juan González Cebrián, director of external relations of the Zarzuela with the Press, who had just arrived from Germany, where he had accompanied the King, strongly denied to me Don Felipe’s presence in Valdebernardo, but he admitted, without me asking him, the presence of Letizia, who, as soon as she learnt the tragic news from her father, ran to her sister’s apartment. And she went alone. Alone with her pain. It is not known whether it happened so because the Prince was attending a hearing at the moment (oh, those terrible servitudes and sacrifices of the position!). The meeting with her parents, before the corpse of her sister, will always be for her the most dramatic moment of her life. At that moment, her role as a princess became the role of a sister courage. That moment had to be no less terribly dramatic for Jesús Ortiz and Paloma Rocasolano, facing as they were the greatest tragedy parents can experience: surviving the death of a daughter. This journalist, unfortunately, knows what it means suffering this kind of pain [as Peñafiel’s daughter also died in strange circumstances]. My first thoughts went for them. When Letizia was convinced that nothing more had to be done [se convenció de que ya nada había que hacer
], she returned to the Zarzuela, devastated.
Unlike queen María Cristina, who, as I referred in the previous Crónica
column, was forced by Prime Minister Cánovas to attend an opera gala while her husband, king Alfonso XII, was agonizing, in Letizia’s case no Cánovas could have been enough to prevent her from running to where she believed she had to be. Even if it had to be alone, alone with her pain.
- EL MUNDO | Suplemento cronica 590 - Mi semana