Siri Doesn’t Know Who the King of Spain Is

Siri claimed that these two men were both the king of Spain. Only one of them, Felipe VI (right), actually is.
Siri claimed that these two men were both the king of Spain. Only one of them, Felipe VI (right), actually is.
Photo: Carlos Alvarez (Getty Images)

Siri is apparently having a really hard time figuring out what’s going on in Spain lately. Apple’s voice assistant made headlines in the European country today for providing two answers to the question, “Siri, who is the king of Spain?” The first answer, Felipe VI, is indeed the real king of the country. However, the second answer is actually Spain’s prime minister, Pedro Sánchez.

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When asked, “Who is the king of Spain?” in Spanish, Siri claimed that there were in fact, two kings: Felipe VI and Pedro Sánchez.
When asked, “Who is the king of Spain?” in Spanish, Siri claimed that there were in fact, two kings: Felipe VI and Pedro Sánchez.
Screenshot: Eduardo de Montenegro Trindade

The voice assistant’s claim that Spain had two kings spread quickly across social media in Spain, where it was met with shock, laughter, indignation and disappointment, among other reactions. Apple corrected the error by the end of the day, when Siri correctly identified Felipe VI as the only king of Spain (at least for users in the country.)

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Gizmodo confirmed that Siri was describing both Felipe VI and Sánchez as the kings of Spain on an iPhone XS in Madrid. We also confirmed that Apple had corrected the error in the country by the time this article was published.

Nonetheless, Siri doesn’t always give the same answers in every country. Gizmodo also asked Siri who the king of Spain was in the U.S. and received information about the “Monarchy of Spain,” which does mention that the Spanish monarchy is currently represented by King Felipe VI.

Apple also modifies and tailors its product features according to the country it’s operating in. Last year, it hid the Taiwanese flag emoji for users that have their iOS region set to Hong Kong or Macau.

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Siri got confused again when users in the U.S. asked it who the prime minister of Spain was, however. To this question, Siri provided a list of four men. The first person on the list was Francisco Franco, the dictator that ruled Spain for decades during and following World War II. After Franco, the list included two former prime ministers: Mariano Rajoy and José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero. The last person on the list was Spain’s current Prime Minister Sánchez.

It’s not clear why Siri thought that Spain had two kings. Some have speculated that it could be because Siri had them both classified as “heads of state” (or “jefe de Estado” in Spanish) in its system, as can be seen in the Siri screenshot above. But only King Felipe VI is the head of state. Sánchez is the head of the government.

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Gizmodo has reached out to Apple to ask for comment on Siri’s mistake in Spain. We will update this article if we get a response.

Curiously, it appears that Siri doesn’t misidentify all monarchs. When users in Spain and the U.S. asked who the king of the Netherlands was, Siri provided the correct answer: Willem-Alexander. Siri also correctly identified the Belgian king, Philippe, in both countries.

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When it comes to Spanish monarchs though, Siri probably needs a little extra help. In addition to claiming that Spain had two kings, Siri also had a familiar answer to another, slightly different question: “Siri, who is the queen of Spain?” The assistant’s answer: Felipe VI and Pedro Sánchez. By the end of the day, though, Siri correctly identified “Letizia Ortiz” as queen consort of Spain.

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