15 Jan, 2023 @ 12:29
1 min read

Spain’s disgraced former monarch Juan Carlos I due to reunite with family at relative’s funeral

El Rey Emerito Juan Carlos I Llega Al Puerto De Sanxenxo Donde Es Recibido Por Una Gran Cantidad De Gente
King Juan Carlos I arriving Sanxenxo SportsPort in Sanxenxo on Friday, 20 May 2022. El Rey emerito Juan Carlos I llega al puerto de Sanxenxo 900/Cordon Press

ANOTHER uncomfortable family photo is likely to emerge tomorrow at the funeral of Constantine II, who was the last king of Greece. The reason? His sister is Spain’s former queen Sofía, and her estranged husband, Juan Carlos I, will be joining her at the ceremony on Monday.

The current king of Spain, Felipe VI, has been trying to distance himself and his close relatives from his father, Juan Carlos, since a number of financial scandals forced the self-styled emeritus king into self-imposed exile back in August of 2020

Since then, Juan Carlos, 85, has only returned to Spain once: to attend a sailing regatta in Galicia. But rather than being a low-profile event, the visit turned into a media circus. 

There was reportedly much unease among the royal family and the Spanish government when the ex-king, who reigned from 1975 until his abdication in 2014, was asked by reporters in Galicia whether he should give the Spanish public explanations about his financial dealings, which included accusations of tax fraud. 

“Explanations about what?” he replied, with a laugh. 

Despite his reported keenness to return to Spain, in particular at Christmas, another visit is not on the cards and Juan Carlos has just spent his 85th birthday away from his family in the United Arab Emirates. 

Spain's King Felipe to reunite with father Juan Carlos at another funeral
Juan Carlos (r) with Queen Letizia and King Felipe at Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral. Cordon Press image

The funeral service in Greece on Monday for Constantine, who died on January 10 at the age of 82, will be attended by Felipe, his wife Queen Letizia, Queen Sofía, emeritus king Juan Carlos and the couple’s daughters, the infantas Elena and Cristina. 

It will mark the first time that Juan Carlos and Sofía have reunited with their three children at the same time since 2020, when they came together for another funeral. 

When Queen Elizabeth II died in September of last year, there was a frenzy in the Spanish press as to whether or not Juan Carlos would attend, given that he and the British monarch were distant relatives. 

In the end, he was present, and sat at the funeral service accompanied by his wife Sofia, Felipe and Letizia. The move was widely criticised by left-wing parties such as Unidas Podemos given the scandals that have engulfed Juan Carlos in recent years.

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Simon Hunter

Simon Hunter has been living in Madrid since the year 2000 and has worked as a journalist and translator practically since he arrived. For 16 years he was at the English Edition of Spanish daily EL PAÍS, editing the site from 2014 to 2022, and is currently one of the Spain reporters at The Times. He is also a voice actor, and can be heard telling passengers to "mind the gap" on Spain's AVLO high-speed trains.

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