25th February 2021
Former King Juan Carlos I of Spain
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Former King Juan Carlos to retire from public life (at a bullfight)

Spain’s King Emeritus Juan Carlos I, aged 81, has announced he will be retiring from public life next month.

The former monarch’s announcement that he would retire from official duties on Saturday 2 June comes five years after he abdicated and Felipe VI succeeded him.

Spain’s EFE news agency and other media have reported that on the day of his retirement, he will be presiding as guest of honour at a bullfight in Aranjuez, near Madrid.

Juan Carlos became Spain’s monarch and head of state following the death of former dictator Francisco Franco in 1975.

Whilst Juan Carlos played a decisive role in Spain’s transition to democracy, his later career became plagued by various scandals.

He was forced to abdicate on 2 June 2014, through poor health but also following a public backlash over an elephant hunting expedition in Botswana.

He faced further criticism when news finally surfaced of his affair with former mistress, Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein.

Former King Juan Carlos I of Spain
Former King Juan Carlos I of Spain in Palma de Mallorca on 1 April 2018. Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein, his former mistress, allegedly revealed that he used her name and that of a cousin to hide property in Morocco and Swiss bank accounts, according to another leak. (Photo by Jaime Reina / AFP)

After the embezzlement scandal which involved his daughter, Cristina, and her husband Iñaki Urdangarin (who is currently in jail), the royal household limited Juan Carlos’s activities in the official agenda to protect the Spanish monarchy from any negative impact that his presence might cause.

In November 2018, Juan Carlos was again under fire after a photo emerged of him meeting Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who had been tainted by the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The photo, which was released on the Twitter account of the Saudi Foreign Ministry, was then published in several Spanish newspapers. Conservative daily newspaper El Mundo ran it along with the headline: ‘The photo of shame’.

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