Juan Carlos I: the best King that Spain has ever had

     The man who undoubtedly is the best king in Spain’s millenary history, lives in Abu Dhabi, far away from home.  His name will be inscribed in golden letters alongside those of his ancestors: Isabella I, Charles I, Philip II and Charles III.

HM King Emeritus Juan Carlos I of Spain

Why is this happening? Don’t take the news that has been published about King Juan Carlos after his abdication and retirement from public life for granted. Many of these news items are biased and manipulated by the ultra-left who govern the country and who are trying to distort Spain’s recent history. Spanish schools don’t teach about the reign of this extraordinary king who, since his accession to the throne in 1975 and until his abdication in 2014, has been at the service of his country. That’s why it’s essential to repeat, ad nauseam, what his brilliant reign has achieved.

     A decisive period in the history of Spain ended with the King’s abdication. A period that included the historic achievement of moving the country from an authoritarian regime – others would call it a dictatorship – to full democracy. And Don Juan Carlos, even before he became head of state, was at the helm of this tough transition.

     The almost forty years of the reign of King Juan Carlos I have been the most fruitful period of history that Spain has ever known. Heir to General Franco’s authoritarian powers, the young king announced his intention to renounce them shortly after his accession to the throne. His aim was to promote the institutional organisation of Spain along the lines of Western democracies. The monarch promised to be the king of all Spaniards. His aim was to create a Spain without exiles and to overcome the problems that had plagued Spanish society in recent history. The approval of the 1978 Constitution by referendum, following free elections in which all political parties participated, brought about reconciliation among Spaniards and a great national agreement. It fulfilled the king’s wish for Spain to be a European and Latin American country, in accordance with its historical vocation, and an advanced Western democracy, where everyone could fit in, open to representative pluralism and political change. The so-called Spanish transition to democracy was a powerful reinforcement of national self-esteem and, at the same time, a model to be admired and imitated internationally.  King Juan Carlos, I played a decisive and indispensable role in this process. He was and still is described as the “engine of change”.

King Felipe VI and his father King Juan Carlos I

       The king carried all this immense work out in almost total solitude, especially at the beginning. This adds to the enormous merit of his task. In the memory of all those who have lived through it, both in Spain and in all democratic countries, the consolidation of democracy is indelibly marked by the firm intervention of King Juan Carlos and his message of rejection of the 1981 coup attempt: “The Crown, symbol of the permanence and unity of the homeland, can in no way tolerate the actions or attitudes of people who have the intention of interrupting the democratic process by force”. The most important international forums recognised the prestige resulting from this rejection, reinforcing both his image as Head of State of a democratic country and that of the Crown as an institution guaranteeing stable development and a stable future and media. 

     King Juan Carlos has represented Spain with total dedication, with an attitude of service and love for his country. He has acted as an ambassador with great enthusiasm and resounding success, presenting a reborn Spain with a new spirit, perfectly integrated into the main international organisations. His constant support for European unity and his constant concern and interest in the promotion and strengthening of lasting bonds of friendship and co-operation with other nations deserve to be widely praised. It is also worth noting that in the early years of his reign, Spain joined the Common Market and NATO. This led to Don Juan Carlos being awarded the Charlemagne Prize for his services “in the service of reconciliation and international cooperation in Europe”, among countless other honours.

As captain of the Bribon, the king won the 2023 world sailing 6 metre class championship.

     General Franco’s Spain never recognised Israel and always supported the Arabs. But it was Juan Carlos I who took the relationship to a new level.  In 1983, the government of President Felipe González recognised Israel. In 1992, in a surprising episode, King Juan Carlos himself apologised to Israel for the 1492 decree expulsion of the Sephardic Jews, signed by his ancestors Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand V of Aragon, while strengthening Arab ties.

           In 1992, thanks to the King’s discreet efforts, Spain hosted the Olympic Games in Barcelona and the Universal Exposition in Seville, reflecting the image of a young, prosperous, and dynamic nation led by a sovereign who had successfully and smoothly established a true democracy in his beloved country.

      King Juan Carlos has played a decisive role in promoting Spain’s interests abroad, especially in the Middle East. From the beginning of his reign, he has established bonds of brotherhood with the region’s royal families. He is without doubt the best defender of Spain’s strategic interests and the most effective representative of our commercial interests beyond our borders. His charisma and charm have won important contracts for Spanish companies over the years. He has earned the admiration and gratitude of the Spanish business community.

Her Majesty Queen Sofia, who is much beloved in Spain

     The Spanish Constitution establishes that “the political form of the Spanish State is the Parliamentary Monarchy” and defines the King as the Head of State, “symbol of its unity and permanence”, who “arbitrates and regulates the proper functioning of the institutions, assumes the supreme representation of the State in international relations, especially with the nations of its historical community, and exercises the functions expressly assigned to him by the Constitution and the laws”.

     Throughout the years of his reign and in the exercise of his constitutional duties, King Juan Carlos I has always remained faithful to his democratising objectives and to the responsibilities deriving from the institutional framework, as was the case on the day of the attempted coup d’état. He was able to act with constant attention and care for the political, cultural, economic, and social progress of the country and its citizens, its rich diversity, the international prestige of the Spanish community and the harmonious integration of Spaniards of different opinions, origins, and beliefs.

In 1975 the king was proclaimed by parliament

     During the reign of King Juan Carlos I, the monarchical institution assumed a central and essential role in the arbitration of national political processes, as rarely before in Spanish life. It became a fundamental element in the functioning of Spanish constitutional democracy. This was evidenced by the popularity that King Juan Carlos I achieved during his reign and by the very broad acceptance of the Monarchy among the Spanish people. The Monarchy had become, as the Constitution advocated, a form of government suited to the needs and preferences of the Spanish people, useful for its moderating capacity and neutral behaviour.

       How can we, Spain, a country, allow its former king to live outside of Spain? How can the Spanish, as a society, be so terribly ungrateful? A grateful Spain should officially celebrate his long life of service to the country. The blame for this unacceptable situation lies with the left-wing government, dominated by ultra-radicals. And with a complicit press, which criticises him mercilessly and with indignant injustice. They are criticising someone who has never been charged with a crime, although he may have made unwise private mistakes. This is being promoted by members of the same government that are trying to sneak in an unconstitutional amnesty to pardon the crimes of the politicians and terrorists who promoted the attempted coup d’état in Catalonia in 2017.

       King Juan Carlos will go down in history as the best Head of State of our time, and the clearest symbol of the most brilliant period of Spain’s millenary history. Spain owes him gratitude and the annals of history will undoubtedly reflect this.        His legacy lives on through his son, King Felipe VI. The current king’s reign has not been easy so far. In 2017, Catalan pro-independence politicians declared an illegal Catalan republic, and the king exercised his constitutional prerogatives impeccably, as did his father in the failed 1981 coup d’état. The radical left government of Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez is constantly testing the king through provocations but again he proves daily that he has the qualities to be another extraordinary constitutional monarch which in substance reflect the best and most enduring legacy of his father, King Juan Carlos I.

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