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Former King Juan Carlos meets Felipe VI to wrap up controversial return to Spain

Spain’s former king Juan Carlos I met his son and the country’s current monarch Felipe VI at the end of a controversial return visit.

The 84-year-old visited the Zarzuela Palace on Monday for the first time since his exile in the United Arab Emirates in August 2020.

Juan Carlos greeted journalists and a few dozen supporters gathered outside the royal family’s official residence in Madrid ahead of a private family reunion. He then left for Abu Dhabi.

The visit was marred by the longstanding allegations of corruption and money laundering that plagued the final years of his rule. In March, the Spanish judiciary announced that it closed investigations “due to the absence of incriminating evidence, the prescription of the offences, and [his] immunity”.

The ex-monarch had spent the weekend in Galicia to attend a regatta and see friends in the coastal town of Sanxenxo. He then traveled to Madrid on Monday to meet Felipe and Queen Sofía.

Government spokeswoman Isabel Rodríguez told public broadcaster RNE that during the three days the ex-monarch “missed an opportunity” to “provide explanations and ask for forgiveness”.

Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez also said Juan Carlos owed the Spanish people “an explanation” about his financial affairs.

The current king of Spain has sought to distance himself from the scandals since its accession in 2014 following the abdication of his father. In March 2020, Felipe renounced the inheritance of Juan Carlos and withdrew his annual allowance of nearly €200,000.

Last month, Felipe also pledged to increase financial transparency in the royal household and make all his contracts public. “Felipe VI is doing an excellent job of recovering what makes the essence of a state institution, namely transparency and exemplarity,” Rodríguez said on Monday.

euronews Gt

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