- Occupation : Royal Highness
- Sign: Capricorn
- Date of birth: Wednesday, January 05, 1938 (age: 82 years old)
- Country : Spain
The sovereign Juan Carlos I, direct descendant of Louis XIV, was born on January 5, 1938 in Rome. His parents, Jean de Bourbon (1913-1993) and Marie de Bourbon (1910-2000) have been in exile in Italy since the establishment of the Second Spanish Republic in 1931. The coming to power in 1939 of the dictator Francisco Franco allowed the future king to return to Spain but without the possibility of exercising his sovereignty. In 1956, a drama occurred that profoundly marked the future sovereign. While he and his younger brother Alfonso were on vacation in Portugal, Juan Carlos, 18 years old, accidentally shot and killed Alfonso. The pistol that Juan Carlos was handling was a gift from Franco a few weeks earlier. Very touched, the future sovereign thinks for a while about retiring to a monastery.
In 1962, he married Princess Sofia, daughter of King Paul I of Greece. Together they have three children. Elena, born in 1963, Cristina in 1965 and Felipe in 1968.
Two days after Franco’s death on November 20, 1975, Juan Carlos was proclaimed King of Spain. He will then set Spain on the road to democracy, contrary to the hopes of the supporters of the Caudillo regime. The Spaniards are charmed by this king, tall (1.90 meter), sporty and modern, who becomes the symbol of unity and openness of the country. And on June 15, 1977, the first democratic elections since the establishment of the dictatorship were held.
Nevertheless, on February 23, 1981, Juan Carlos had to face an attempted coup d’état fomented by those nostalgic for Franco’s dictatorship. The king, determined not to give in to pressure, reacted quickly. In a televised speech, in which he appeared dressed in his uniform as head of the armed forces, he called for the defence of the Constitution and managed to maintain the loyalty of the armed forces. He gained the respect of the entire political class and his people.
Over the years, however, mistrust between Juan Carlos I and his subjects grew. The monarchy is weakened by scandals and health problems of the sovereign, who has undergone nine hip operations and now moves around on crutches. With the economic crisis, some royal habits no longer pass. His hunting of elephants in Africa or brown bears in Romania is controversial, as is the revelation of the existence of possible illegitimate children. More serious, the indictment of his daughter, the infanta Cristina, for tax fraud and alleged money laundering. This follows the investigation for corruption against Iñaki Urdangarin, Cristina’s husband.
In a poll published in January 2013, the Spaniards are 62% in favor of the abdication of Juan Carlos in favor of his son, Prince Felipe. And more and more people are questioning the monarchical institution. On June 2, 2014 the head of the Spanish government, Mariano Rajoy, announced the abdication of Juan Carlos of Spain after thirty-nine years of reign, in favor of his son Prince Felipe.
On March 15, 2020, Felipe of Spain announced that he would renounce his father’s inheritance in full and withdraw his annual endowment from him, following the revelation of a case of corruption.
On August 3, 2020, Juan Carlos of Spain announced his intention to leave Spain, following suspicions of corruption. In December 2020, Juan Carlos of Spain settled a tax debt of nearly 680,000 euros.