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Portuguese newspapers report a possible return to Europe for King Juan Carlos


King Juan Carlos could be on his way back to Europe according to newspapers in Portugal.

The man who ruled Spain for almost forty years has been in self imposed exile in Abu Dhabi for over a year. For much of that time, reports have circulated of the former monarch’s desire to return to Spain. There have been reports of loneliness and of missing family and friends. He has been visited by his daughters, Elena and Cristina, but no other family stays have been confirmed. Now, reports in newspapers indicate that Juan Carlos hopes to return to Spain as investigations into allegations of financial impropriety seem to be drawing to a close with the prospect of no further action being taken.

Portuguese media, as well as some Spanish sources, have reported that consideration is being given to a home for Juan Carlos away from Madrid. The reports say it’s hoped that a physical distance between the former monarch and the capital city will avoid too much distraction from the work of his son and successor, King Felipe VI.

In particular, there has been focus in the Portuguese press after workmen were spotted at the Spanish royal family’s home, Villa Giralda, in Estoril in Portugal.

The house was built in 1936 as a chalet for the Estoril golf club but from 1948 onwards, it was used by the Spanish Royal Family who had fled into exile in 1931. The family of Juan Carlos called Estoril their home for many years. However, 1948 was also the year that Juan Carlos was sent to live in Spain which was, by then, under the control of the Fascist dictator,Francisco Franco. Juan Carlos’ education was supervised by Franco as his family continued negotiations for the restoration of the throne. Juan Carlos’ father, the Count of Barcelona, settled in the house. He lived there until 1989 and, when he died in 1993, the villa was inherited by Juan Carlos.

However, there has been no indication from the Spanish Royal Household that Juan Carlos has any plans to return from Abu Dhabi. At the end of 2020, reports circulated that the former monarch wanted to return to Spain for Christmas and for his birthday, which is on January 5th. However, there he hasn’t been back to Spain or Europe since August 2020.

About author

Senior Europe Correspondent Oskar Aanmoen has a master in military and political history of the Nordic countries. He has written six books on historical subjects and more than 1.500 articles for Royal Central. He has also interview both Serbian and Norwegian royals. Aanmoen is based in Oslo, Norway.