The King´s Return Divides Spain

Spain’s former King, Juan Carlos I, has been spending time in his home country for the first time in nearly two years of self-imposed exile.

Over the weekend he was warmly greeted by a small crowd in the Galician town of Sanxenxo, which was holding its annual sailing regatta.

However, there were also demonstrations and negative reaction from many including politicians who are opposed to the visit.

He is scheduled to fly to Madrid to meet his son Felipe VI in the Zarzuela Palace today, Monday 23rd May.

He will also meet his wife Queen Sofia who does not reside with him in exile.

The left-wing coalition government of Pedro Sanchez were  distinctly uncomfortable with the visit and are reported to have denied his request to stay overnight at the palace.

The royal household have confirmed that he will returning to his “permanent and stable residence” in Abu Dhabi.

A protest in Madrid aslo took place near the Royal Palace. Those who showed up shouted slogans while some brought posters with critical messages against both Juan Carlos and the monarchy.

Juan Carlos, 84, has not been in Spain since August 2020, when he went into self-imposed exile in Abu Dhabi following a string of financial irregularities including a money laundering enquiry by the Swiss authorities.

The enquiries including that of the Spanish state prosecutors have all closed and the king hasn’t faced any charges.

Some Spanish media outlets have speculated that Juan Carlos is planning to visit Spain again in June and possibly even spend the August holiday month with the Royal Family in Mallorca.

His possible return to living in Spain has has been mooted but he cuts a dividing figure.

Many of the older generation consider him to have played a crucial role in the transformation to a democratic country after the death of General Franco in 1975.

However, his abdication in 2014 in order to shield the Spanish Monarchy from scandal have not gone according to plan.

The Justice Minister, Pilar Llop, said that “the public would like to receive explanations for everything that has happened.”



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