King Juan Carlos Announces Retirement

King Juan Carlos, who abdicated the Spanish throne five years ago, has decided to retire from public life.

The move, detailed in a letter to King Felipe, means Don Juan Carlos will no longer represent the Crown in an official capacity.

Even though the King Emeritus doesn’t have a heavy schedule, he has made numerous appearances in a private and official capacity over the years.

King Juan Carlos speaking with King Felipe during a recent meeting of the Cotec Foundation leadership at El Pardo Palace. Spanish Royal Household

In the letter to King Felipe, Don Juan Carlos says it’s time to move on to a new chapter of his life.

King Juan Carlos, who reigned from 1975-2014 and led Spain’s transition to Democracy, said he had been thinking about retirement for months, particularly following his 80th birthday and the Constitution’s 40th anniversary.

Members of the Spanish Royal Family at the Palace of the Congress in Madrid last year. Spanish Royal Household

The Spanish Royal Household released the news amid local and European elections, so coverage was relatively sedate.

King Juan Carlos was once an untouchable figure in Spain. His reputation has taken a hit following several scandals and controversies.

King Felipe and Queen Letizia now want to promote the Crown as professional, affordable and accountable.

Queen Sofia, King Juan Carlos’ wife, who has a foundation to her name and numerous projects, will stay active in public life.


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