Other Discussions on Spain

Spain and the Monarchy

< The presidency of Bill Clinton has its problems; a hereditary system has others, whether it be a monarchy or a country in which the son simply succeeds his father. When I was in Spain in 1931, the year of the revolution, one of the main arguments against Alfonso XIII was that his wife Victoria Eugenia de Battenberg had transmitted hemophilia to her children. One son, Juan, the father of the present King Juan Carlos, was free from the disease. This is a nonsubject in Spain, but surely the monarchists must think about it. They can relax. Here is what is said about hemophilia in Wintrobe's Clinical Hematology, 9th ed. Lee, Richard G. et al, eds. (Philadelphia, Lea & Febiger, 1993, p. 1425): "Hemophilia A is the classic example of an X-linked recessive trait....In such a disorder, the defective gene is located in the X chromosome. In males who lack a normal allele, the defect is manifested by clinical hemophilia. The affected male will not transmit the disorder to his sons , because his Y chromosome is normal. All of his daughters, however, will be carriers of the trait, because they inherit his X chromosome....The female carrier will transmit the disorder to one half of her sons.... and the carrier state to one half of her daughters." There is no direct discussion of the inheritance by offspring of non-affected males, but it would seem that there is no such thing as a male carrier of the gene. However, if Juan Carlos or another male marries a woman who is a carrier of hemophila, there is a 50% chance their sons could be affected. I trust that Juan Carlos chose his wife Sofia carefully, a difficult task since she is a distant relative of Queen Victoria Eugenia. All this does not mean that an elected leader is better. After all, Hitler was elected, and there are serious doubts about the mental competence of American presidents, past and future. A WAIS Fellow, Professor Herbert Abrams of Stanford Medical School, is a member of a committee which has been studying this problem. Whether the United States will adopt the necessary safeguards is far from certain. A constitutional monarch has far less power than an American president, so the problem is really more serious in this country.

Ronald Hilton - 08/28/98