DRC diplomat vs. Spanish princess – awkward moment of the week

This video, shown on TV last night, has been providing plenty of entertainment to Spanish social network users.

The incident ocurred during the annual reception by the King and the royal family of foreign diplomats in Spain. As it can be seen at 0:29, the Spanish princess Letizia and a DRC diplomat are about to shake hands when the diplomat moves his hand away and turns around leaving the princess visibly surprised.

This otherwise trivial incident has provided a good opportunity for many to express some misplaced opinions, which range from the lack of education of the diplomat, to outright racist comments and strange comparisons between this gesture and the Iranian diplomats’ refusal to shake the hands of the queen and princess for being women (0:15)… Comments also flow in the opposite direction – with some accusing the princess of not stretching her hand sufficiently and thus offending the diplomat.

As it turns out, the reality is much simpler. According to this online newspaper, quoting sources from the DRC mission in Spain:

Oscar Matondo (the name of the diplomat) is in charge of commercial relations between Spain and the DRC, has only recently been dispatched to Spain and barely speaks Spanish.
During the event, Matondo – unfamiliar with Spanish protocol and rather nervous – heard the princess say something he couldn’t make out. Thinking she was telling him off for trying to greet her, he turned around.

A trivial incident (which both the royal house and the DRC embassy in Spain have played down) but which nonetheless has allowed many to express their prejudiced views…

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