The spotlight is on again Juan Carlos of Spain, 83 years celebrated away from the royal family, last January 5, and a position still in the balance, but perhaps better than expected. The Spanish government has just decided that the king emeritus will not lose his royal title, but will keep it for life.
This was announced by Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, following a parliamentary question presented by Carles Mulet, a member of the Valencian electoral coalition. The critical point lies in the fact that in the Spanish Constitution there is no title of “emeritus king”, assigned to the former king after his abdication in favor of his son Felipe, in 2014.
The title, the Premier underlined, is entirely legitimate, considering the fact that other countries also hold similar titles for former leaders who have left office, thus silencing the issue.
The heart of the problem is another, and in Madrid no one makes any secret of it: involvement, still presumed until the investigation is concluded, but little doubt apparently, of the former sovereign in a thorny question of bribes for the construction of a railway in Saudi Arabia.
When the controversy broke out, in full Coronavirus emergency, the former sovereign packed up, following a suggestion from his son Felipe (few choices according to the well-informed) and he took refuge in Abu Dhabi. A golden exile that ensured him some privacy, far from the chatter of Madrid, where the problems in recent months have been quite different, between the Coronavirus emergency and the image of a monarchy that is leaking from all sides and that Felipe VI and his wife Letizia Ortiz have taken on the shoulders to save what can be saved, so much so as to put forward also the daughters Leonor and Sofia, until now always kept away from official business, in the name of that normal childhood that so many royals wish for their heirs.
Soon, however, another dilemma could end up on Felipe’s desk: Juan Carlos would like to return to Spain. Last December he paid 678 thousand euros to the Spanish tax authorities, to face the charges of evasion which after his “escape” had initiated a financial investigation.
“The former king wants to go home”, longtime friend Juan José Laborda told the EFE news agency, “The most logical thing would be an agreement between Felipe VI, the royal family and the government”. At first it seemed that the former king was due to return in time for Christmas, but the situation linked to the pandemic prevented the family reunion. Today, as if that were not enough, it is again storm: the payment to the taxman has raised a fuss, seen more an admission of guilt than a good deed. 2021 has just begun and the Bourbon home already has more than one problem to solve. Peace, in the family, still seems far away.