The whereabouts of King Juan Carlos I of Spain as his self imposed exile begins are still uncertain. Several media outlets are reporting that the former monarch arrived in the Dominican Republic after leaving via Portugal, the day before the announcement that’s shocked Spain was made.
ABC reported that Juan Carlos, who is 82, was driven from Madrid into Portugal on Sunday August 2nd 2020 and from there, he took a flight to the Dominican Republic. El Mundo is also reporting that his friends believe that is his destination and that he will stay there for at least a few weeks as he makes plans for life outside Spain.
However, Juan Carlos spent his childhood in Portugal where his family was in exile following the fall of the monarchy led by his grandfather, King Alfonso XIII. Some media in that country are reporting that Juan Carlos has in fact returned to one of his former hometowns – Estoril, or nearby Cascais.
The Spanish Royal Household hasn’t said where Juan Carlos has gone. It is understood that his wife, Queen Sofia, will remain living in Spain and will continue with her royal duties. Juan Carlos retired from public life in 2019.
The news that he was leaving Spain was announced on August 3rd 2020 in a short letter to his son and successor, King Felipe VI. In it, Juan Carlos said he was making the move driven by his love of the country he ruled between 1975 and 2014.
In recent months, allegations of financial misconduct have swirled around Juan Carlos with investigations focusing on claims he hid money in Switzerland after it came to him via a rail contract.
News of his exile has provoked a wide range of opinions in Spain with some left wing politicians saying he shouldn’t have been allowed to leave as investigations continue. Others have said the move was unnecessary as he hasn’t been charged with any crimes.
Juan Carlos is widely credited with bringing democracy to Spain when he succeeded as king on the death of the fascist dictator, Francisco Franco. Hugely popular for decades, his legacy has been tarnished in recent years by a string of scandals.