Spain’s disgraced former king Juan Carlos returned home on Wednesday for the second time since he went into self-imposed exile in Abu Dhabi in 2020 amid fraud investigations.
The 85-year-old arrived in Vigo (Galicia) on a private jet from London, where he had attended Real Madrid’s 2-0 win over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the Champions League on Tuesday evening.
He will spend several days in the nearby resort of Sanxenxo, where he stayed in May 2022 during his first trip back to Spain since going into self-imposed exile in the United Arab Emirates. ALSO READ: Ex-king Juan Carlos makes brief return to Spain, will meet Felipe VI on Monday.
His yacht ‘El Bribón’ – Spanish for ‘The Rascal’ – will take part in a regatta over the weekend, as it did last year.
Neither the Royal Palace nor Spain’s coalition government commented on the visit, with government spokeswoman Isabel Rodriguez saying she had ‘nothing to say about this topic’.
‘It is a personal decision’ on the part of the former king, she added.
Last year’s visit sparked much criticism, especially from parties on the left which demand he account for the scandals that prompted his 2014 abdication in favour of his son, Felipe.
‘Explanations for what?’ he retorted when a television journalist asked if he would explain his behaviour.
Spanish prosecutors in March 2022 closed three probes into his finances due to insufficient evidence and the statute of limitations, but said several irregularities had been found.
Revelations about the murky origins of his fortune have done irreparable damage to a figure once revered for his role in Spain’s transition to democracy following the death of long-time dictator Franco in 1975.
Juan Carlos is not expected to travel to Madrid to meet with his son, King Felipe VI as he did last year when he came to Sanxenxo.
Since becoming king in June 2014, Felipe VI has tried to distance himself from his father and set out to restore the monarchy’s prestige.
He ordered an audit of the royal household’s accounts and issued a ‘code of conduct’ for its members.
The following year he stripped his older sister, Princess Cristina, of her title of duchess as she prepared to stand trial on tax fraud charges.
While she was ultimately cleared by the courts, her husband Iñaki Urdangarin was convicted of fraud and embezzlement.
Then in 2020, Felipe renounced any future personal inheritance he might receive from his father, and stripped him of his annual allowance of €200,000 after fresh details of his allegedly shady dealings emerged.
Click here for all our reports on the Spanish Monarchy.
🔴 Así ha sido la llegada del rey emérito a Stamford Bridge— RTVE Noticias (@rtvenoticias) April 18, 2023
Juan Carlos I verá allí, junto a Florentino Pérez, el partido entre el Chelsea y el Real Madridhttps://t.co/2z2Jqzx2XW pic.twitter.com/c7gYbQ2SIc