King Emeritus Juan Carlos I returns to Spain after two years

by Lorraine Williamson
King Emeritus Juan Carlos I

There has been much speculation over the last two years about the return of the King Emeritus Juan Carlos I to Spain. But during this weekend, is the day. Juan Carlos I will return to Spain for a short visit on Saturday, May 21. 

Last Sunday, Juan Carlos spoke by telephone with his son, King Felipe VI. A few hours later, it was announced that he will return to Spain this weekend. And, furthermore, that Felipe VI and his father will meet. Don Juan Carlos will visit the regattas in the Galician town of Sanxenxo next weekend, on 21 and 22 May, as reported by journalist Fernando Ónega on Onda Cero’s ‘Más de uno’.  

After attending the regattas – sailing is one of his greatest passions – and meeting Felipe VI at the Royal Zarzuela Palace, Juan Carlos I will probably return to Abu Dhabi. He has been living there for the past two years.    

Felipe VI in Abu Dhabi 

The telephone conversation between Felipe VI and the King Emeritus took place this Sunday. This was during the Spanish Head of State’s trip to Abu Dhabi to express his condolences on the death of the President of the United Arab Emirates, Jalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. 

Although father and son were in the same country, they did not meet there. The phone call took place at the end of Felipe’s stay, before his return to Spain. 

Cogesa Expats

Why could not Juan Carlos I return earlier? 

An essential condition for Juan Carlos I to be able to return was that there were no more investigations or lawsuits against him. The former head of state always made it clear that his intention was to return to his country for visits. 

A few days after the investigations against him were closed, the Royal House published a letter from Juan Carlos I to his son. There, he announced his intention to ‘live permanently and stably in Abu Dhabi’. He stated that this was because of the ‘peace of mind’ it brought him at this time in his life. 

What investigations were under way into King Emeritus? 

After several years of investigations into Juan Carlos’ finances in which irregularities were found, the Public Prosecutor of the Supreme Court of Justice – the judicial body before which Juan Carlos de Borbón enjoys immunity – ordered the case to be dismissed last March. Juan Carlos is alleged to have accepted bribes for his mediation in the construction of the high-speed train between Mecca and Medina (Saudi Arabia) by Spanish construction companies. The King Emeritus’ secret Swiss bank accounts and money sent to the Bahamas in an account managed by executives of Juan Carlos’ Panama-based fund were also investigated. 

Also read: Juan Carlos I continues to live in Abu Dhabi


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