Spanish King erroneously welcomed with Fascist anthem

King Felipe (far left) was at the San Carlo alongside President Mattarella (far right).

NAPLES King Felipe VI of Spain was mistakenly serenaded by the Fascist anthem rather than the current Spanish national anthem at the San Carlo theatre in a gaffe that hit the headlines across Italy and Spain.

 Felipe VI was in Naples as part of a meeting for member states of Cotec Europa, an informal organisation between Italy, Spain and Portugal, alongside former Spanish monarch Juan Carlos I, Portuguese president Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa and Italian president Sergio Mattarella.

 While the two monarchs remained impassive as the San Carlo orchestra began to play the Franco-era anthem, Spanish diplomats were quick to point out the error to their Italian counterparts and Mattarella was forced to apologise for the blunder.

 The song played was the version of Spain’s national anthem that features words of poet José María Pemán adopted during Francisco Franco’s dictatorship. While the melody remains the same, the words were removed after Spain transitioned to democracy in November 1975.