Amidst investigation for illegal dealings, former King of Spain Juan Carlos recently went into exile. Let us take a look at the monarch who brought several reforms but is now facing corruption charges.
Crux of the Matter
Recently, the former King of Spain Juan Carlos left Spain into exile, leaving amidst several controversies. The step came 6 years after the renunciation of his throne, which was transferred to his son Felipe VI in 2014.
Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez stated that he is unaware about the location of the exile of Carlos, with media speculations claiming that Carlos is currently in the Dominican Republic.
Life Of Juan Carlos
- Born in 1938.
- Married Princess Sophia of Greece in 1962.
- Spain was established as a “representative monarchy” by its dictator General Franco, who chose Juan Carlos as the successor King of Spain.
- 1975: Carlos became the monarch 2 days after the death of Franco.
- Notably, Carlos dismantled the old system and implemented changes to ensure Democratic elections in 1977.
- 1981: Coup to remove Carlos and reinstate dictatorship failed after “swift action” from him.
- Became the first Spanish King to visit the Americas in 1976.
- Aided in decriminalizing abortion (under certain circumstances only) in 1985, which was amended later in 2010 after the Spanish Government recognized abortion as a fundamental right.
- The active participation of Carlos in the political sphere diminished after the election of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party in 1982.
- Afterward, Carlos paid several visits to armies stationed outside, venturing even into war zones at times.
1997: Visited troops serving in Bosnia.
2002: Visited troops serving in Kosovo.
2007: Visited troops serving in Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom, which aimed to eliminate Taliban and al-Qaeda from Afghanistan.
- 2012: Carlos ambarked on a family trip for elephant–hunting in Botswana at the time of a major recession in Spain, and received strong criticism for the actions.
- 2014: Princess Cristina, the daughter of Juan Carlos, was accused of tax fraud, becoming the first Spanish royal to be put on trial. She was later acquitted in 2017, but her husband was sentenced to prison for the crime.
- 2020: An investigation has been started recently to find Juan Carlos’ involvement in a high-speed rail contract in Saudi Arabia after 2014 when he lost his privilege against prosecution due to renunciation of the throne.
- Spanish firms had agreed on a €6.7bn deal to build a high-speed rail line between Mecca and Medina. However, the prosecutors have accused former King Carlos of corruption and of receiving $100 million from the late King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. King Felipe, the son of Carlos who took the throne in 2014, removed the $228,000 annual stipend of his father, and also renounced any personal inheritance afterward.
Spain has “Lèse-majesté” laws, which punish the defamation of the King or any royal by imprisonment of up to 2 years. Spain also provides immunity against prosecution to the presiding Head of State, with the case on Juan Carlos concerning Saudi-railway to include his actions of only after 2014, when he transferred the throne to his son and lost his privilege against prosecution.
The system suffered a major setback in 2018, when the European Court of Human Rights opposed the decision of the Spanish Court to penalize 2 citizens for burning the pictures of the King.
Several nations across the world provide certain immunity to their monarchs or heads of the states. For instance, the UK law cannot initiate “civil and criminal proceedings against the Queen as a person under UK law”, and also forbids arrests in the presence of the monarch or inside the royal palace.
- Juan Carlos is the grandson of Alfonso XIII, the last king of Spain before the abolition of the monarchy in 1931. Alfonso XIII was King of Spain for 45 years.
- The Spanish Republic was the form of government that existed in Spain from 1931 to 1939. The Republic lost the Spanish Civil War on 1 April 1939 to the rebel faction that would establish a military dictatorship.
- A caudillo is a type of personalist leader wielding military and political power. The term is historically associated with Spain.
- Reuters – Once popular former king Juan Carlos leaves Spain under cloud of scandal
- Euronews – Royal visit for Spanish troops in Afghanistan
- The New York Times – SPAIN LAW ALLOWING SOME ABORTIONS TAKES EFFECT
- Catalan News – Human rights court condemns Spain over punishments for burning pictures of king
- BBC – Spain puzzles over ex-King Juan Carlos’s whereabouts
- WalesOnline – The members of the Royal Family who can and can’t be arrested