Catalina de Zarzuela is a Spanish activist, politician and former royal who was the 29th Empress of Spain as Catalina I. Ascending the throne at the age of 7, after her father's death in a sky accident, Catalina became the Empress of Spain under the regency of her mother. After Catalina announced in 2013 she was an atheist, widespread protests erupted, calling for the immediate abolition of the monarchy. Several atheist activists argued that the monarchy derived their power from their so called deities, and an atheist monarch who had no real power, should have no place in the nation. The protests were of such magnitude that a referendum was held, with the monarchy narrowly being kept. Nevertheless Catalina abdicated, and passed the throne to her older brother Jaime. Catalina is one of the few royals who have admitted their anti-monarchist beliefs. Since her abdication, Catalina has left the imperial family and renounced all her titles become a vocal opponent of the monarchy, and said she was "held hostage" during and before the referendum, as she actually planned to abolish the monarchy herself.