Old times: King Juan Carlos, right, greets much decorated Gen. Joaquin Sansano Sampere of the Spanish
Air Force. Official functions like this will soon be a thing of the past for His Majesty
By Jack Wright
Five years after he abdicated the throne in favor of his son, Felipe VI, King Juan Carlos has formally communicated to the reigning monarch his total withdrawal from public life. Henceforth he will no longer attend any official functions. The renunciation will be effective on 2 June this year.
A string of scandals involving the royal family – for a start, Juan Carlos himself going on a safari in Botswana while economic woes swamped his kingdom; his affair with Corinna Zu Sayn-Wittgenstein; the imprisonment of his son-in-law Iñaki Urdangarin, husband of Infanta Cristina, who is convicted of graft – proved too much for the once popular king who finally had to step down on 2 June 2014.
Despite his abdication which removed him as Head of State, he still performed a few official duties such as attending cultural events and historic commemorations. He was very much present, especially in the media, during last year’s celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Spanish Constitution. It must be remembered that that constitution provided the framework for Spain’s highly successful transition from dictatorship to parliamentary democracy.
King Juan Carlos played an indispensable role in the Transition for which the Spanish people owe him a debt of gratitude. And yet in the formal letter informing his son of his decision to withdraw from public life, he paid tribute to the Spanish people who, he said, were the true protagonists of the Transition.
Referring the celebration of the 40th anniversary, which he described as “unforgettable”, he wrote: “[It was] a solemn act, full of emotion for me, that evoked, with pride and admiration, the memory of the many people who made the political Transition possible and renewed my feeling of permanent gratitude toward the Spanish people, the true architect and leading protagonist of that transcendental stage of our recent history.”
Come 2 June, he will no longer attend even the most transcendental and emotive of public celebrations.
Below is the letter King Juan Carlos wrote Felipe VI which was released on the 27th of May by the Casa de Su Majestad el Rey (Household of His Majesty the King).
Majestad, querido Felipe:
A lo largo de estos últimos años, desde mi abdicación de la Corona de España el 2 de junio de 2014, he venido desarrollando actividades institucionales con el mismo afán de servicio a España y a la Corona que inspiró mi reinado.
Ahora, cuando han transcurrido casi cinco años desde aquella fecha, creo que ha llegado el momento de pasar una nueva página en mi vida y de completar mi retirada de la vida pública.
Desde el año pasado, cuando celebré mi 80 cumpleaños, he venido madurando esta idea, que se reafirmó con motivo de la inolvidable conmemoración del 40 Aniversario de nuestra Constitución en las Cortes Generales. Un acto solemne, lleno de emoción para mí, que me hizo evocar, con orgullo y admiración, el recuerdo de tantas personas que contribuyeron a hacer posible la Transición política y renovar mi sentimiento de permanente gratitud hacia el pueblo español, verdadero artífice y principal protagonista de aquella trascendental etapa de nuestra historia reciente.
Con una firme y meditada convicción, hoy te expreso mi voluntad y deseo de dar este paso y dejar de desarrollar actividades institucionales, a partir del próximo 2 de junio.
Tomo esta decisión desde el gran cariño y orgullo de padre que por ti siento, con mi lealtad siempre.
Un grandísimo abrazo de tu padre.
The wife of Juan Carlos and mother of the reigning monarch, will, however, continue to perform official acts that are incumbent on her as Her Majesty Queen Sofia of Spain. (Note the difference: As Queen Consort during the reign of her husband, she was styled Her Majesty Queen of Spain.)
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Featured image/Tico2013 via Wikimedia, CC BY-SA3.0
Spanish Constitution anniversary/Pool Moncloa-Fernando Calvo, PD, cropped
ONCE exhibition/Diario de Madrid, CC BY4.0