Don Felipe and Doña Letizia are due to start their summer holidays in Mallorca next weekend, although this year will be different due to the coronavirus crisis. But despite the pandemic and also the crisis that the Crown is experiencing due to the scandals of the emeritus, the Kings and their daughters, Princess Leonor and Infanta Sofia, will continue with the tradition spending a few days off in Marivent, the well-known Palace that welcomes you every year around this time, a place full of history that holds a very special place in the heart of the Bourbons, especially in Queen Sofia.“What I miss the most during the year is the sea. I am the daughter of the Aegean, a Mediterranean ”. Type this phrase into Google and you will get thousands of stories about Marivent and Doña Sofía -author of these words-, also known as the ‘queen of Marivent’.
This Mallorcan palace has coincidences with the summer retreats of other European monarchies, but also some differences. Also significant. How that of Balmoral, For example, especially for Isabel II, Marivent is Doña Sofía’s favorite retreat. The difference lies in their ownership: in most European monarchical countries kings paid to be able to enjoy their retirement; the Spanish does not own the palace, but it is a building ceded by the Balearic Government.
In 1972, the Palma Provincial Council gave the then Princes of Spain the estate for their holidays. Doña Sofía received the news with enthusiasm and he personally devoted himself to directing the reforms to suit his needs.
The image was peculiar and many remember it: it was August 4, 1973, and Don Juan Carlos and Doña Sofía arrived aboard a Seat 1430 at Marivent. They were with the children, the nanny and the dog Laia, they had landed in Son San Joan with two Mysteres (military aircraft) and were received by the local authorities, as the ‘Diario de Mallorca’, with some exclusive photos on its inside pages. Mother and son flew in an apparatus and the father did it with the two girls, following the mandate that Rey (then still Prince) and heir would never travel together.
The change of landscape was for them something emotional: they came to pass a few days in the Meirás pazo with Franco and his family, and the experience had not been good because the dictator had bad fleas at the time. “They suffered the slights of this, who barely spoke to them,” says journalist Marcos Torío in his book on the palace, ‘Summers in Mallorca’ (The Sphere of Books). In Marivent they discovered their place, especially Queen Sofia, who spent long periods in the Tatoi palace, near the rocky Greek coast, and could not avoid its evocation.
The Balearic Government owned this magnificent ‘possession’ (name given to rural farms in Mallorca, although it is close to the sea) after inheriting it from Ioannes Saridakis, an engineer, painter and patron of Greek origin who settled in Palma in 1923 and that he had commissioned the construction of the building (1923-1925) to the architect Guillermo Forteza. It was Forteza who baptized his creation as Mar i Vent (sea and wind), although he was known as Can Saridakis until the arrival of the future Kings. Annunciation Marconi Taffani, his second wife, yielded the 33,000 square meters of farm to the Diputación Provincial de Mallorca in 1965, two years after the painter’s death.
Saridakis wrote that the property should “To be used in perpetuity for the installation of a museum of provincial art and cultural services and of complementary artistic teaching and training. (…) If the residence of Marivent was not intended for the use desired by the deceased painter and his wife for a period of more than six months, the palace should be returned to his donor or his heirs. ” And although it was not exactly like this, the palace has always remained in the hands of the Balearic Islands (for this reason it does not appear as National Heritage).
The idea of offering it to the Princes for their summer use came from the head of the Prince’s House, Mallorcan Nicolás Cotoner Cotoner, Marquis of Mondéjar, in 1972. Don Juan Carlos and Doña Sofía spent their summers in Estoril or London, they did not have a fixed residence, and the Marquis considered that they should have it. So he negotiated for the Deputation to transfer the estate to future monarchs.
Perched on Marivent in 2007. (Getty)
The farm was closed to the public, against Saridakis’ wishes, until recently. The painter’s heir claimed the interior of the palace (he had renounced the estate) by legal means and the judges agreed with him, so in 1988 he took everything that belonged to him. National Heritage was in charge of ‘redecorating’ the royal mansion, through which national and international personalities have passed. The photo of the Prince Charles and Diana of Wales It is one of the most remembered, as well as the most recent of the Obamas.
Marivent is now more than ever Doña Sofía’s refuge. There she settled in the first heats and there she received her family. The roots of the Queen Emeritus sink into the Danish Oldenburg dynasty, thanks to Cristian IX and Luisa de Hesse Kassel, from the Glücksburg house. The great-grandparents of the Spanish monarch had six children and 40 grandchildren, which is why they were known as the ‘grandparents of the European monarchy’. From Tsar Nicholas II to Queen Elizabeth II and Margaret II of Denmark, they all have their roots in Cristian and Luisa.
As it was for their ancestors, the family It is sacred to Doña Sofía. AND This is how he highlights it every summer at Marivent, where he gathers all his grandchildren to spend a few days together. Against thick and thin, against sea and wind.
The Kings Emeritus, with their children at Marivent in 1976. (Getty)