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Juan Car-Lost! Spain's former monarch quits the country amid investigations into corruption

Updated: Nov 10, 2020

Father and Son together May 2019. Photo Paco Campos

In a spectacular turn of events, Juan Carlos I, King Emeritus has informed his son, Felipe VI of his decision to leave Spain. The letter was made public earlier today. The full text, translated from Spanish reads as follows:

Your Majesty, dear Philip:

With the same desire for service to Spain that inspired my reign and in the face of the public repercussion that certain past events in my private life are generating, I wish to express to you my absolute availability to contribute to facilitating the exercise of your functions, from the tranquility and tranquility that requires your high responsibility. My legacy, and my own dignity as a person, is what they demand of me.

A year ago I expressed my will and desire to stop developing institutional activities. Now, guided by the conviction of providing the best service to the Spaniards, their institutions and you as King, I communicate to you my thoughtful decision to move, at this time, outside of Spain.

A decision I make with deep feeling, but with great serenity. I have been King of Spain for almost forty years and for all of them I have always wanted the best for Spain and for the Crown.

With my loyalty forever.

With the affection and affection of always, your father. "

The decision comes amid investigations into unreported donations from Saudi Arabia in connection with a prestigious high speed rail contract for the line between Mecca and Medina. The allegations first surface in Switzerland and are now on the desk of the Supreme Prosecutors office in Spain. Juan Carlos lost immunity from prosecution when he abdicated . €65million had been transferred to the Lucum Foundation, based in Panama. The investigation is still trying to confirm if the money came from Saudi Arabia.

Juan Carlos has experienced a humiliating decline in his public standing. From the successful return to the throne after the Franco dictatorship, to his pivotal role in resisting the coup d'état in 1981 he seemed set to be remembered as the man who guided Spain through a difficult period of transition. He eventually abdicated after a corruption scandal involving the activities of his daughter and her husband and a curious Elephant hunting trip during the height of the economic crisis. Rumours of relentless infidelity have never been far from his door, even suspicions that he has a secret daughter within Spanish high society. He abdicated in favour of his son in 2014. Since then, Felipe has gone a step further, announcing his decision to renounce any inheritance from his father in March of this year and also cancelling an annual grant of €194,000 to his father.

An astonishing story from Catalan journalist Pilar Eyre in 2018 accused Juan Carlos' wife, Queen Sofia of having an extra marital affair with Alfonso Díez, the widower of Spanish socialite the Duchess of Alba. Díez, 63, i clearly attracted to older women with status and power and it is alleged the relationship blossomed at the funeral of his late wife. The distance between the Royal couple is clear for all to see, especially today, as it has been confirmed that Juan Carlos' decision to leave Spain will not have any changes for Queen Sofia.

Where King Juan Carlos plans to live has not been revealed, but considering his lawyer made a commitment to that he remains available to the prosecutors office "for any procedure or action deemed appropriate" it should probably be a country with formalised extradition laws with Spain in place.

In the Spanish political world, Pablo Iglesias, leader of Podemos, and Vice President of the Government has been critical of the flight from the country, saying it "leaves the monarchy in a compromised position. ERC, EH, Bildu and Más Pais have all interpreted the decision as a flight from justice. The PP issued a statement of thanks for the contribution of the former King to the foundations of democracy in Spain. The statement from Moncloa (The official residence fo the Spanish Prime Minister) praised Juan Carlos' exemplary and transparent guiding influence over the country and his son.


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