Former King Juan Carlos I was acclaimed this Friday by dozens of people in the coastal town of Sanxenxo (northwest), in his first public appearance after returning to Spain after almost two years of exile.
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The 84-year-old former monarch, who settled in the United Arab Emirates in August 2020 amid suspicions of corruption, arrived in Spain on Thursday night for a visit that will conclude on Monday and that raised criticism in the country.
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But in the port of the Galician town of Sanxenxo – where this weekend he attends a regatta in which the “Bribón”, a sailboat with which he was world champion, participates – dozens of onlookers acclaimed him to the cry of “Long live the king!”, “Long live Spain!” Y “Come back, come back!”
Moving with the help of a cane and the arm of a companion, the father of the current king, Felipe VI, greeted the curious and posed before the many gathered photographers, seeming excited. He made no statement.
Juan Carlos I, who abdicated in 2014 persecuted by scandals, will go to Madrid on Monday to see his wife Sofía, his son Felipe VI, and the rest of the family, before returning to Abu Dhabi.
According to the Royal House, the previous monarch plans to return “regularly” to Spain to see his family. According to the mayor of Sanxenxo, he plans to return to this town in June.
The visit comes after the prosecutor’s office filed all the investigations against him in March.
However, the revelations about the unclear origin of his fortune seriously damaged his image, appreciated until then for his role in the transition to democracy after the death of dictator Francisco Franco in 1975.
The government of the socialist Pedro Sánchez – who was opposed, according to the press, to his sleeping in the official residence of Felipe VI – insists that he must give “explanations”.
Felipe VI has tried to distance himself from his father. Thus, in March 2020 he renounced his inheritance and withdrew his annual payment of almost 200,000 euros.
*With information from AFP.
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