20 Jun

It came as a shock when, 10 years ago King Juan Carlos I, abdicated in favour if his son and heir to the Spanish throne.

"Why?" many asked, but it soon began to emerge that Juan Carlos, king since 1975 when the dictator Franco died, had been a "naughty boy."

King Felipe VI [Photo: El Español]

Meanwhile, his son Felipe VI, now aged 56, has been head of state for a decade. Amid recent speculation about the state of his marriage to Letizia, an Australian commoner, Felipe VI has been a model of integrity. 

When the truth about the corrupt behaviour of his father emerged, Felipe disowned his father, who has been living in exile for the last decade.

At his recent trial in London, Juan Carlos was found not guilty, yet there remain question marks about his integrity and his apparent wealth towards the end of his reign. 

"Hero to zero"  in just 25 years, for Juan Carlos played a huge role in converting Spain from a republican state back into a constitutional monarchy.

The previous king, Alfonso XIII, his grandfather, was forced into exile in the 1930s, effectively leaving Spain as a republic for some 45 years, even though he did not abdicate.

The ensuing provisional government evolved into the relatively short-lived Second Spanish RepublicThe Spanish Civil War began in 1936 and ended on 1 April 1939 with the victory of General Francisco Franco and his coalition of allied organisations commonly referred to as the Nationalists.

Franco appointed Juan Carlos I de Borbón as his successor, and it was the new king who was credited with presiding over Spain's transition from dictatorship to democracy by fully endorsing political reforms.

Impatient with the pace of democratic reforms, the new king, known for his formidable personality, dismissed Carlos Arias Navarro and appointed the reformer Adolfo Suárez as President of the Government in 1977.

In 1978 Spain was officially declared a constitutional monarchy once more after some 45 years as a republic. It remains so to this day. There is little desire in Spain to abolish the monarchy.

The Royal Family: Leonor, Felipe VI, Letizia, Sofia [Photo ABC]

So, Felipe VI has been celebrating his decade on the throne, with Queen Letizia and their two daughters, Leonor, The Princess of Asturias, elder daughter of the King and heir to the throne, and The Infanta Sofía, younger daughter of the King.      

Former king Juan Carlos I [Photo El Mundo]

© The History Man

For more information about the demise of Juan Carlos I, click here



El Español

El Mundo

Paul Whitelock




ABC, Adolfo Suárez, Alfonso XIII, Carlos Arias Navarro, constitutional monarchy, El Español, El Mundo, Felipe VI, Francisco Franco, head of state, heir to the throne, Infanta Sofía, Juan Carlos, Leonor, Nationalists, Paul Whitelock, Princess of Asturias, Queen Letizia, republic, Second Spanish Republic, Spanish Civil War, Wikipedia, www.eyeonspain.com 

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