Why was Catalonia's shield seen at Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral?
Ceremony was attended by Spanish King Felipe VI and former monarch Juan Carlos I
The state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II on Monday has been followed throughout Great Britain and the world. Here, locals noticed the presence of Catalonia’s shield in Westminster Abbey, right in front of the monarch’s coffin.
This is one of the 12 shields seen in the gothic church and represents Raymond Berenger IV, the Count of Provence, according to the Heraldry Society. Catalan readers will know him better as Ramón Berenguer V, the cousin of James I the Conqueror, (Jaume I El Conqueridor).
Berenger, who passed away in 1245, "was the father-in-law of Henry III, who married Eleanor of Provence in 1236" the group says. The Count of Provence’s other daughters were married to Louis IX of France, and Henry III’s brother, Richard, Earl of Cornwall.
Centuries later, Ramón Berenguer’s shield is still placed in Westminster Abbey.
The reason is that the count was one of the biggest financial aid contributors during the church’s refurbishment under King Henry III’s supervision.
Some of the honored in those shields "were related to Henry by blood or marriage," the Heraldry Society explains. While others "are presumed to have been contributors to the cost of rebuilding his church, though this is traditional and there is no actual record of such gifts," the group points out.
Watch the state funeral ceremony online.
Attendees at State Funeral
The shield was not only seen by millions of people around the world, but also by the 2,000 guests invited to the ceremony.
Among these attendees, some of the most important international political figures such as US president Joe Biden, French president Emmanuel Macron, several former Prime Ministers of the UK, as well as Spain’s King Felipe VI, Queen Letizia, former king Juan Carlos I, and Queen Sofia.
All of the Spanish monarchs sat together in the second row to the left of Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin.
Despite Queen Elizabeth II’s state funeral, September 19, 2022 will be marked in Spanish history as the first time the former ruler and current King were seen together in years.
In the summer of 2020, Juan Carlos made the decision to flee Spain as corruption scandals mounted, in order to protect the image of the monarchy, now led by his son, Felipe VI.
In February 2021, it was revealed that the former king of Spain had paid the tax office €4.396m for previously undeclared income relating to flights on a private jet.
And in May 2022, after an absence of 658 days, Juan Carlos I returned to the royal residency to have lunch with his son and other members of the Spanish royal family, rounding off a four-day trip from the UAE.
This was his first time in Spain since he had left the country and rejected giving explanations for his corruption scandals.
"Explanations of what?" was his response to questions from reporters over the various legal cases that marked the end of his reign.
A flying visit for lunch in Madrid after a weekend attending sailing regattas in the Galician seaside resort of Sanxenxo garnered much attention from Spanish media, but the Spanish government expressed their dissatisfaction with the spectacle generated.
Listen to the podcast below from March 2021 on the various corruption scandals rocking the Spanish monarchy and why support for the royal family in Catalonia is almost non-existent.