the parable of Juan Carlos, from crown to exile

the parable of Juan Carlos, from crown to exile


The photos that portray them together: Caudillo and Juan Carlos, the man indicated by the dictator as the heir to the Spanish crown. A transition partnership until Franco’s death in 1975. Crowned King, Juan Carlos I was therefore the best interpreter of the Zeitgeist, the spirit of the times, initiating the transition from the regime to democracy in Spain.

Play video again

In Spain there were times, those in which it was not necessary to be a supporter of the monarchy to be called Juancarlista. But the sense of the spirit of the times leaves him definitively, following a series of ‘stumbles’ that lead to his abdication in 2014.

Let’s see some stages of the parable of Juan Carlos


Juan Carlos was crowned king of Spain on November 22, two days after the death of General Franco who had ruled the country since the end of the Spanish civil war of 1936-39.

The grandson of the last king, before the abolition of the monarchy in 1931, had been chosen by the dictator to guide the country after his death.

As Prince of Spain, Juan Carlos swears allegiance to Franco’s movement, and often appears alongside the general, praising his work. However, unbeknownst to the elderly leader, the prince secretly meets with opposition leaders and exiles towards the end of his rule, and once king, he moves quickly to introduce reform.

1976 — 1978

Juan Carlos fired the Spanish Franco Prime Minister in July 1976 and replaced him with the little known politician and lawyer Adolfo Suarez. The following months were characterized by the legalization of political parties declared outlawed in previous years, including the Socialists and the Communists, despite strong opposition from the right wing army. The process leads to the recognition of the monarchy by the left.

In May 1977, Juan Carlos’ father, considered by many monarchists as the legitimate king, renounced his claim. The following month Spain has held the first democratic general elections since 1936. A high turnout sees the centrist movement of Suarez emerge. A new Spanish Constitution that restores a constitutional monarchy was approved by the country’s new Parliament and approved with a referendum in 1978. During this period, an amnesty law was also approved that frees political prisoners but also guarantees impunity for the perpetrators of the crimes. of the Civil War and the subsequent Franco regime.


The continued influence of the army resulted in a coup attempt on 23 February. Two hundred officers of the Guardia Civil, led by a lieutenant colonel, burst into the lower house of Parliament and hold MPs and ministers hostage for 18 hours. King Juan Carlos plays a crucial role in defusing the ‘bomb’, denouncing the attempted coup on television. In an attempt to overthrow, nobody is killed and the kidnappers surrender.

1982 — 2012

The monarch’s active involvement in Spanish politics ends in all respects with the 1982 elections, which bring the Socialists to power. Spain then became part of what was then the European Community in 1986. Although his role is largely ceremonial, Juan Carlos is seen as an authoritative figure who embodies the unity of the country in his person. In the mid-2000s the king had the consent of over three quarters of the Spaniards.

In the annals, the intervention of 2007, on the occasion of an Ibero-American summit, during which the Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez peremptorily silences with the phrase “Why don’t you shut up?”

2012 — 2020

These are the years of decline. A trip with his lover to hunt for elephants, in Botswana, in April 2012, is at the center of the avalanche of criticisms that overwhelms the king of Spain. Even if it is not paid by taxpayers, the African stay clashes with the serious moment of economic crisis which sees a surge in unemployment, especially among young people. The king apologizes.

Her role is further questioned in early 2014, in an embezzlement scandal involving her daughter Cristina and her husband. On June 2, 2014, Juan Carlos gives a televised speech to confirm the abdication in favor of his son, the prince of Asturias, who is crowned King Philip VI on June 19.

Her image is further damaged in 2018 when the details of an alleged lover and financial irregularities emerge. The former king announces his retirement from official functions in June 2019. After the crawl space of controversy raised by an investigation into an alleged corruption, the royal family declares that it intends to give up any legacy of Juan Carlos in March 2020. A June the Supreme Court announces an investigation into the former king’s alleged business dealings with Saudi Arabia. On August 3 Juan Carlos declares that he wants to leave the country.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here