25 Jul, 2023 @ 16:29
1 min read

Spain’s disgraced former king Juan Carlos I due to make third visit home after going into self-imposed exile

Spain's Emeritus King Juan Carlos asks London court to throw out damages claim from ex-lover
Cordon Press image

SPAIN’S disgraced former king Juan Carlos I will be making another visit to Spain today, some three years after he went into self-imposed exile in the United Arab Emirates as a series of scandals involving his finances emerged. 

This will mark the third time that the self-styled emeritus king has returned to his home country since then, and the visit will take place just a few days after the snap general election was held on July 23. 

Sources close to Juan Carlos told news agency Europa Press that he would once again be travelling to Galicia where he will take part in a sailing regatta. No further details about the trip have been revealed. 

His previous two visits reportedly caused unease in the royal household, given that his son, King Felipe VI, has been trying to distance both himself and his family from Juan Carlos. 

The emeritus king abdicated the throne in 2014 after he was plunged into a scandal when it emerged that he had broken his hip on an expensive hunting trip with a former lover, at a time when Spaniards were suffering an economic downturn. 

In 2020, allegations of tax evasion and other financial improprieties began to pile up, prompting King Felipe to renounce his father’s personal inheritance and strip him of his annual stipend. In August of that year, Juan Carlos left Spain for Abu Dhabi, where he remains living today.

Both his first visit in May 2022 and in April of this year were frowned upon not just by the royal household, but also the Socialist Party administration of Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, who said that the former king owed the Spanish people ‘explanations’ for the accusations of impropriety. 

Juan Carlos was then asked during his first visit by a reporter whether he had any such answers to offer. 

“Explanations, what for?” he responded.

The response angered many Spaniards and commentators, given the accusations of financial impropriety that were being levelled against him. 

His second trip was less of a media circus than the first, but still caused embarrassment for the Spanish royal family.

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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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