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Why King Juan Carlos of Spain won’t ever lose his title


Spain’s government has confirmed that King Juan Carlos will retain his title for life. The country’s Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez, explained the decision after being asked whether ministers planned to revoke his royal status.

Carles Mulet, a member of the Valencian electoral coalition called Compromis, tabled a written question to Spain’s government about Juan Carlos’ title. Highlighting that the role of Emeritus King, which has been held by Juan Carlos since his abdication in 2014, isn’t in the Spanish Constitution, he asked whether the government was planning to revoke it. In reply, Pedro Sanchez said that Juan Carlos will keep the title of king for the rest of his life and added that other nations, including Belgium, Luxembourg and Japan ensured their former rulers retained royal honours similar to those held during their reigns.

The status of Juan Carlos has come into question over the past months as he has faced growing controversy over allegations of financial impropriety. In August 2020, he left Spain for self-imposed exile, only announcing his departure once he had quit the country. He went to Abu Dhabi where he continues to live although in recent weeks there have bee reports that he wants to return to Spain.

Juan Carlos’ full title remains His Majesty King Juan Carlos although he is popularly referred to as ‘King Emeritus’. He was proclaimed as king on November 22nd 1975 in front of the Cortes in Madrid following the death of the fascist dictator, Francisco Franco, two days earlier. He abdicated his throne on June 19th 2014 in favour of his only son who now rules as King Felipe VI.

About author

Lydia Starbuck is Jubilee and Associate Editor at Royal Central and the main producer and presenter of the Royal Central Podcast and Royal Central Extra. Lydia is also a pen name of June Woolerton, a journalist and writer with over twenty years experience in TV, radio, print and online. June has been a reporter, producer and editor, picking up several awards over the years. She's appeared on outlets including BBC 5 Live, BBC Radio Ulster and BBC Local Radio and has also helped set up a commercial radio station. June is also an accomplished writer with a wide range of material published online and in print. She is the author of two novels, published as e-books. She is also a marriage registrar and ceremony celebrant.