It was one of the trips that caused the most stirrup in Spain – King Juan Carlos returned to the country after almost two years.
Following much speculation, the Royal Household decided to release a short statement detailing what happened during the much-anticipated meeting of the former monarch with the majority of his family.
Present for the meeting were King Felipe and Queen Letizia, Infanta Sofía, Queen Sofía (albeit socially distanced because she tested positive for COVID-19 upon returning from Miami), Infanta Elena and her two children Felipe and Victoria, and Infanta Margarita and her husband Carlos Zurita.
Notably absent were Princess Leonor, who is currently about to conclude the first of two years at UWC Atlantic in Wales, and Infanta Cristina and her family. King Juan Carlos, however, managed to meet with one of her children, Pablo, as he played a handball game.
Spain’s former sovereign arrived at La Zarzuela Palace around 10am, after making the journey from Vigo, where he had taken part in a boat race, to Madrid by plane. He was welcomed by a few supporters who had gathered around the gate and whom he greeted with a wave.
Once inside, the Royal Household stated that many topics were discussed, including family matters and what the future will look like for King Juan Carlos. As for the second point, he expressed his wish to continue residing in Abu Dhabi, and to set up a private residence in Spain for the times he decides to visit, so as to continue to enjoy as much privacy as possible.
“All of this, together with the other points contained in that letter [the letter King Juan Carlos sent to King Felipe, published on 7 March 2022], constitutes the framework of reference for King Juan Carlos’s activities,” the press release concluded.
King Juan Carlos is already back in Abu Dhabi, having made the trip back by plane on Monday night.
Facing increasing pressures from various investigations into him, both in Spain and abroad, King Juan Carlos abruptly left the country in August 2020, and, after many days of speculation, the Royal Household revealed that he had settled in Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates.
In March 2022, following the dismissal of most of the pending cases, King Juan Carlos sent a letter to King Felipe, expressing his wish to maintain his residence in the United Arab Emirates for personal reasons while also travelling to Spain to meet up with family and friends, and, while in the country, to maintain a private residence for privacy reasons.
This visit, the first in almost two years, is to be understood “in the context of this wish,” said the Royal Household in a press release published on 18 May.