King Juan Carlos, the former king of Spain, will head home for the first time in two years after living in self-imposed exile in the United Arab Emirates since August 2020.
Spain’s royal palace confirmed on Wednesday that Juan Carlos will briefly return to his home country on Thursday, May 19 after previously fleeing the country amid allegations of tax fraud and money laundering. During his brief visit, the royal is expected to attend a yachting event and spend some time with his family before returning to Abu Dhabi where he was been living in a six-bedroom mansion. Over the weekend, the former king will stay in the town of Sanxenxo in the northeastern corner of Spain before traveling to the Zarzuela Palace in Madrid on Monday where he will pay a visit to his son, reigning King Felipe VI and his wife Queen Letizia, as well as other members of the royal family. Sanxenxo is also the location of a sailing regatta this weekend in which The Bribon, a yacht the royal captained in 2017, will compete.
A statement on the palace’s website explained that the visit “is part of His Majesty King Juan Carlos’ desire to travel frequently to Spain to visit family and friends, organize his personal life and his place of residence in areas of a private nature, as expressed in the letter addressed to His Majesty the King on March 5.” This will also be an emotional trip for the royal as, while both of his daughters have visited him in Abu Dhabi, this marks the first time his son and wife of 60 years, Queen Sofía, have seen him in two years.
The former king’s visit also comes two months after Spain’s Public Prosecutor’s Office announced that it had dropped all of the investigations into the king’s finances, citing insufficient evidence, statute of limitations, and immunity granted to him while serving as head of state. In December, another similar investigation into Juan Carlos in Geneva related to reported “aggravated money laundering” was dropped by Swiss authorities for similar reasons.
The Spanish statement read, per The Guardian, “The public prosecutor wishes to make it clear that, despite the investigation…no criminal action can be taken against His Majesty Juan Carlos de Borbón for the reasons outlined in the decree—basically the lack of incriminating evidence, the statute of limitations, the inviolability of the head of state, and tax regularization.” Along with that announcement, however, the Spanish prosecutor also emphasized that this does not mean the former king has been completely absolved.
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