23 May, 2022 @ 16:30
1 min read

IN PICS: Touching moment King Juan Carlos hugs grandson after handball match during return visit to Spain

King Juan Carlos I During The Handball Match In Sanxenxo, May 21, 2022.
King Juan Carlos I during the handball match in Sanxenxo, May 21, 2022. Pablo Urdangarin

AMID all the scandal and protests stirred up as Spain’s former King Juan Carlos returns to Spain for the first time since he moved to Abu Dhabi in self-imposed exile two years ago, the cameras caught a very touching moment between a grandfather and his grandson.

The 84-year-old former monarch’s controversial visit to Galicia for a sailing regatta at the weekend coincided with a highlight in one of his grandson’s sporting career.

Pablo Urdangarin, the second child of Princess Cristina and her scandal-hit jailbird husband Iñaki Urdangarin, has followed his father’s footsteps and become a handball champion.

Currently playing for Barça B, his team was in Pontevedra last Saturday to play local club Club Cisne Colegio Los Sauces.

This gave an opportunity for a very human moment between the former head of state and his 21-year-old grandson.

The Emeritus King appeared in the stands during the game, with the audience applauding his presence when it was announced during half-time. 

At the end of the match, Pablo approached his grandfather to great him with a kiss on his hand before moving in for a hug.

King Juan Carlos I During The Handball Match In Sanxenxo, May 21, 2022.
King Juan Carlos greets Pablo Urdangarin after the handball match. Photo: Cordon Press
King Juan Carlos I During The Handball Match In Sanxenxo, May 21, 2022.
The pair hug on the sidelines. Photo: Cordon Press

Last year it was announced that King Felipe’s sister Cristina had split from her husband by ‘mutual agreement’ just days after he was pictured with another woman on his arm while walking along a beach in the Basque Country.

The Infanta, who is the youngest daughter of King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia, had stood by her man through a scandal that sent shockwaves through the royal family.

Urdangarin was found guilty in February 2017 of using royal connections to win public contracts to put on events through his non-profit organization, the Noos Foundation. He then overcharged for the events and hid millions of euros in proceeds abroad.

Princess Cristina, was acquitted of being an accessory to tax fraud after a year-long trial of 18 defendants in the probe of the charity run by her husband.

She was the first member of the Spanish royal family ever to stand in a dock.

The scandal added to a growing public disaffection towards the Spanish royal family which began when it emerged then-King Juan Carlos was off hunting elephants in Botswana with his mistress while Spain suffered a deep economic crisis.

Juan Carlos abdicated in 2014 and King Felipe VI has made great efforts to distance himself from the royal rogues. Urdangarin was stripped of his title of the Duke of Palma along with his wife who gave up the title of Duchess and was removed from royal duties.


Jorge Hinojosa

Jorge Hinojosa Mena was born and bred in Madrid before moving to the UK to study. After an undergraduate degree in Manchester, he completed an MA in International Journalism at City. He has worked in radio and for Spain’s Efe news agency before joining the Olive Press in March 2022. Contact: [email protected]

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