By Eloise Horsfield
KING Juan Carlos has apologised for taking an extravagant elephant-hunting trip to Botswana.
“I am very sorry. I made a mistake. It won’t happen again,” the sheepish-looking 74-year-old told state TV channel TVE after hobbling in on crutches.
Such displays of remorse are unprecedented from the Spanish monarchy, which rarely speaks out on current affairs.
Main criticisms of the monarch were fuelled by the fact he took this costly safari at a time when Spain is in the midst of a recession.
Spain’s IU boss Cayo Lara was infuriated, saying: “He’s clearly not losing any sleep over the fact that thousands of young people are unemployed, while he goes off to Africa to hunt elephants.”
With 23 per cent of people out of a job – and the figure rising to 50 per cent for under 25s – many were appalled that the King should be jetting off for a luxury trip.
He was also slammed for shooting elephants when he is the honorary president of the WWF in Spain.
“We are deeply sensitive to the serious damage this outcry is causing to our credibility, particularly over the protection of elephants and other species,” said the federation’s Spanish boss Juan Carlos del Olmo.
The trip was only discovered after the King tripped during the night and had to be jetted home for an emergency op on his hip, which had been fractured in three places.