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(Juan Carlos I de Borbón; Rome, 1938) King of Spain (1975-2014). Figure essential, together with the President Adolfo Suárez, of the so-called Spanish transition, King Juan Carlos I renounced the powers that had received the dictator Francisco Franco to the process which led peacefully from dictatorship to democracy and which ended with the adoption of the 1978 Constitution, by which Spain turned into a modern democratic State and the King went to merely representative role. The transition to Juan Carlos I became the most valued public character of the country: political parties and personages of Republican ideology complied with constitutional monarchy through action by the holder of the Crown, to the point of coining the recurrent phrase of "I'm not monarchical, but juancarlista it". His intervention in favor of the democratic legality in the coup attempt of February 23, 1981 finished propping a prestige during all his reign.
Juan Carlos I of Spain
Crowning of Juan Carlos I in
Courts (22 November 1975)
Juan Carlos I of Spain
Son of don Juan of Bourbon and Battenberg and grandson, therefore, King Alfonso XIII, Juan Carlos was born in Rome, the city where his grandfather Alfonso XIII, deposed had exiled to establish the second Spanish Republic (April, 1931). In 1938, the year that was born Juan Carlos, the Spanish Civil War was at its peak, with notorious military advantage in favour of the rebel side, led by general Francisco Franco, and the Spanish royalists trusted on dynastic restoration once concluded the conflict. But at the end of the war (April 1939), Franco remained in power, initiating a dictatorial regime that default swap would linger until his death (November 1975) and that kept the Royal family apart from the throne and the country.
Alfonso XIII died in 1941. The resignation of his sons Alfonso and Jaime to the dynastic rights of the House of Bourbon had turned to his youngest son, don Juan de Borbón y Battenberg, the heir to the throne. A first meeting between general Francisco Franco and don Juan de Borbón took place in 1948. The son of Alfonso XIII and father of Juan Carlos was intended to preserve his family's dynastic rights, while Franco sought to legitimize his regime continued, setting with the previous Republic legality. After several interviews held in subsequent years (1954, 1960), it was agreed that Prince Juan Carlos would be academic and military training in Spain, under the tutelage of the regime, and what would happen to CFA at the head of the State.
After living with his family in Italy, Switzerland and Portugal, Juan Carlos went to Spain, where he received extensive training, which included as a fundamental component to pass through the military academies. In 1962 he married in Athens the Princess Sofia of Greece, which belongs to the Royal House of Greece, which would have three children: the infantas Elena and Cristina, and which would later become Prince of Asturias, Felipe.
Negotiations of Francisco Franco with don Juan de Borbón, and the important personal waiver that the father had to leave in the hands of the dictator his child's education, gave the desired result to designate Franco Juan Carlos as the successor in the head of State (1969). From that moment, Juan Carlos began to participate in the tasks of Government.
Since 1971 the functions of the Prince were completed with the provision that temporarily replace Franco in situations of absence or illness. Such a situation occurred on two occasions (July 1974 and November 1975), in which Juan Carlos temporarily took the head of State by Franco disease. During his second internship she traveled to the Spanish colony of Western Sahara, threatened by the Green March, which was organized by the King of Morocco, Hassan II; his intervention was decisive to avoid war with the Moroccan Kingdom, which was later transferred sovereignty over the Western Sahara territory.
The death of
Francisco Francoin 1975 he led, according to the legal provisions, the crowning of Juan Carlos as King, resetting is thus in Spain monarchy of the House of Bourbon. The new King surprised the world then promoting a peaceful transition from dictatorship to democracy from current legislation. As soon as he could, it got rid of the last President of the Government appointed by Franco (Carlos Arias Navarro) and appointed instead to a more open and liberal young: Adolfo Suárez (1976).
Crowning of Juan Carlos I in
Courts (22 November 1975)
With the continued support of the King, Adolfo Suárez carried out political reform (1977) and brought a Democratic Constituent Cortes, which came out consensual Constitution that the Spanish people approved in a referendum in 1978. In such a process, Juan Carlos I renounced most of the powers that it had inherited from the dictatorship, being converted into a parliamentary monarch with powers merely symbolic and representative, similar to those with the other Kings of Western Europe. Thus he acquired great international prestige and popularity widespread among Spaniards, pillars which ensured the continuity of the monarchy who embodied.
His last public intervention crucial for consolidating the democratic regime took place in 1981, when an attempt of coup d'etat staged by Tejero and Milans del Bosch forced him out publicly in defence of legality, disavowing the coup and using his ascendancy over the military to call them to discipline; This contributed to thwart the coup and ended win general respect inside and outside Spain.
Juan Carlos I faithfully served the tasks that he credited with the Constitution, intervening through consultations with parliamentary leaders on the designation of the candidate for Prime Minister after each electoral consultation. Its function of representing the State would lead him to travel constantly abroad, in support of the foreign policy decided by their Governments; noteworthy in this regard its symbolic leadership of the Ibero-American community of Nations, as well as the support to the Spanish integration into Western organizations (NATO and EU), which took place during his reign.
Also traveled frequently to visit the different autonomous communities that make up the Spanish State: in this respect, the relatively open attitude demonstrated toward the cultural and linguistic plurality, political and administrative decentralization and the idiosyncrasies of the different regions facilitated the maintenance of the fragile balance between unity and diversity, which designed the Constitution of 1978. While this sporadically missing critical voices, it can be said that Juan Carlos I kept intact its prestige and the institution during most of his reign.
Recent years, however, were difficult. The marital problems of the Infanta Elena (divorced in 2009 with her husband, Jaime de Marichalar) troubled the peace of the Royal family, even though he wouldn't be a private matter. But broke the so-called case Noos, a corruption scandal led by the son-in-law of the King, Iñaki Urdangarínin 2011: apparently, the husband of the Infanta Cristina had taken advantage of for years its link with the monarchy to divert public funds to the Instituto Nóos, a foundation theoretically non-profit himself presided over. Though Urdangarin spare his wife from any responsibility, the image of the Royal House remained clouded, and the slowness of the judicial process (during which it was attributed to the same Infanta Cristina, which was to appear before judge) did not contribute just to forget the matter.
No less disastrous for the credit of the monarchy was the news that jumped to the teleprinters in April 2012: in a context of strong economic crisis in which Juan Carlos I had joined the voices calling for sacrifices to the population, reportedly as a result of an accident that broke his hip, the King was hunting elephants in Botswana. Juan Carlos I had to apologise publicly just outside the hospital. Operation that must undergo the King to reduce the fracture of pelvis suffered in the safari has joined with other surgical interventions of different etiology (herniated disc, benign lung tumor, rupture of the Achilles tendon...) that you had been practiced from the year 2010. The sum of ailments made the portrait of the monarch appeared very deteriorated with regard to other times, with an obvious limp and, sometimes, serious difficulties to speak.
Following these mishaps, both the popularity and health, intensified rumors that pointed to a possible abdication; said Prince Philip, married with the journalist Letizia Ortiz, offered a more modern image of the monarchic institution, and therefore it would be well received by the public. The King refused to abdicate in moments of worse health status, perhaps to avoid giving the impression that surrendered in the face of adversity, but finally, on June 2, 2014, announced its decision to transfer the Crown to Prince Felipe de Borbón (destined to reign as Philip VI of Spain), wielding his advanced age and the need for a generational as reasons for the challenges of the future.