King Juan Carlos is said to have left Spain for the Dominican Republic, according to several media outlets.
The Spanish Royal Household said yesterday that Don Juan Carlos would move out of Zarzuela Palace and abandon the country amid claims of financial irregularities.
King Juan Carlos abdicated the Spanish throne in 2014. © Dany Virgili
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez today praised King Felipe for distancing himself from his father for the sake of the Crown.
Other left-leaning figiures, however, said Don Juan Carlos’ departure was akin to fleeing justice. His Majesty’s attorneys say he remains open to whatever officials may need.
King Felipe, meanwhile, continued with his agenda and has not commented on the crisis. He has resigned any inheritance from his father.
King Juan Carlos may be staying in Casa de Campo, a Dominican resort owned by the wealthy Fanjul family.
King Juan Carlos, the monarch who led Spain’s transition to democracy, will abandon the country, according to a letter to his son, King Felipe.
Authorities in Spain and Switzerland are investigating money King Juan Carlos is said to have received from the Saudi king.
Millions of dollars from Don Juan Carlos also ended up in the hands of Corinna Larsen, a businesswoman and socialite with whom King Juan Carlos had a close freindship.
Queen Sofia watches as King Juan Carlos signs papers related to his abdication in 2014 at the Madrid Royal Palace. Spanish Royal Household
King Juan Carlos was immune from prosecution but gave up his involability when he abdicated. The limits of his immunity during office are also in question.
Don Juan Carlos has not been indicted for any crimes and sources close to the former head-of-state say he did nothing illegal.
But King Felipe has formally resigned any inheritance from his father earlier this year. Don Felipe has also been under pressure to kick his father out of Zarzuela Palace.
King Juan Carlos with Queen Sofia. Spanish Royal Household
In the letter to his son, King Juan Carlos did not say where he was going, but said scrutiny into his private actions had contributed to his decision to leave.
King Juan Carlos was born in exile in Rome. He and his family engineered a return to Spain as a child. He then took over as monarch when dictator Francisco Franco died.
In 2014, amid financial crisis, scrutiny into his relationships and declining health, Don Juan Carlos abdicated the throne after almost 40 years.
Queen Sofia has arrived in Palma de Mallorca for her summer vacation, as is tradition.
Observers and locals were wondering whether Her Majesty would return to Marivent Palace amid scandal surrounding her husband, King Juan Carlos.
Media outlets are reporting that Queen Sofia is in the Balearic Islands. King Felipe, Queen Letizia and their daughters are likely to join in the coming weeks.
Queen Sofia during a meeting at of the Queen Sofia Foundation leadership last month. Spanish Royal Household
Some polls show Queen Sofia as the most popular royal, largely because she has remained committeed to her role despite difficult years.
King Juan Carlos is said to be with friends in Galicia. He may have to move out of Zarzuela Palace permanently.
King Felipe met with presidents of Spain’s autonomous communities during a conference in La Rioja Friday.
His Majesty was on hand for the meeting between regional and national officials, including Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez.
King Felipe with Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, to his right, and the leaders of Spain’s autonomous communities. Spanish Royal Household
The presidents of the Basque Country and Catalonia, both members of anti-monarchist, nationalist parties, did not attend the meeting, despite pleas from the prime minister.
Catalan President Quim Torra has long been at odds with the central government in Madrid. And Basque leader Iñigo Urkullu said the central government was not complying with certain promises.
King Felipe called for “unity and fraternity” during a visit to Santiago de Compostela in Galicia today.
Their Majesties visited the city for the Feast of St. James and made an offering to the country’s patron saint.
Spanish Royal Household
Members of the Spanish Royal Family generally visit Santiago during the Feast of St. James. The King and Queen are also on a tour of the country following the pandemic lockdown.
King Felipe and Queen Letizia visited Catalonia last week on their ongoing countrywide tour.
A trip to Catalonia — in this case to a monastery in Tarragona — is notable because of the years-long political instability there. The region has also seen a spike in COVID-19 cases.
Pro-independence protesters were near the site but police kept them away from the King and Queen.
The Spanish Royal Family held a ceremony at the Madrid Royal Palace grounds to honor victims of the coronavirus pandemic.
Attending last week in the shadow of Almudena Cathedral were King Felipe, Queen Letizia, Princess Letizia and Infanta Sofia.
Spanish Royal Household
The ceremony of state was one of several from Spain’s royals to honor the pandemic’s victims.
King Felipe and Queen Letizia helped lead a service for victims of COVID-19 at Almudena Cathedral in Madrid last week.
King Felipe and Queen Letizia. Their daughters, Princess Leonor and Infanta Sofia are behind them. Spanish Royal Household
Almudena Cathedral is across from the Madrid Royal Palace, the King and Queen’s official residence. Spain was among the countries hardest hit by the disease but has been reopening after seeing cases fall dramatically.
King Felipe and Queen Letizia have been crisscrossing Spain for the past several week during a delicate time for the country and the Royal Family.
Their Majesties worked to be active during the pandemic lockdown and have been visible during the reopening, including visiting several museums and cultural attractions.
King Felipe and Queen Letizia at the Prado Museum in Madrid to launch the Spain for Sure tourism campaign in June. Spanish Royal Household
They have also visited beaches and walked through numerous communities. Their visits have been informal and meant to connect them with regular people.
The King and Queen in the Canary Islands. Spanish Royal Household
Spaniards, fed up with corruption, the Catalan crisis, recession and scandal, have taken out their frustrations on the governing class — including the Monarchy. Despite the Royal Family’s efforts, many people see them as not having done enough to fight COVID-19.
The King and Queen in Aragon. Spanish Royal Household
Then there’s King Juan Carlos, who is embroiled in a financial scandal related to $100 million gift from the Saudis, some of which may have ended up in the hands of a former lover.
King Felipe has disconnected himself from his father financially and discussions are ongoing about the elder monarch’s status within the Royal Family.
King Felipe and Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa last week celebrated the reopening of land border crossings between the two nations.
His Majesty and Rebelo de Sousa traveled to the community of Elvas along the border, near the Spanish city of Badajoz.
Border crossings have been closed because of the coronavirus pandemic. Europe, which has managed to significantly reduce its cases, is hoping to benefit economically from the summer travel season.