King No More: Spain's Ex-Monarch to Leave Country Amid Corruption Issue

Spain's former king, Juan Carlos, made the tough decision to leave the country amid a series of damaging allegations about his alleged corruption.

The Zarzuela palace revealed that the ex-monarch penned a letter to his son, King Felipe, in which he expressed his desire to depart due to the issues surrounding his name.

The monarchy's spokesperson did not disclose when the former monarch would leave Spain and where he would be staying. However, Juan Carlos made it clear that he is willing to cooperate with the prosecutors, especially when interviews are necessary.

"[I am making the decision] in the face of the public repercussions that certain past events in my private life are generating," the former King said, per BBC. "Guided by the conviction to best serve the people of Spain, its institutions, and you as king, I inform you of my decision at this time to leave Spain."

Meanwhile, King Felipe reportedly conveyed "his heartfelt respect and gratitude" to his father following the sudden and heartbreaking decision.

In June 2020, Spain's Supreme Court began an investigation to look into the alleged participation of Juan Carlos in a high-speed rail contract in Saudi Arabia.

Such an issue truly damaged the monarchy and brought humiliation to King Felipe, who has been ruling the country for six years now.

Furthermore, it is almost impossible to think that Juan Carlos of Spain would do something like that, given that he remarkably transformed Spain from a dictatorship to democracy after General Franco's death in 1975.

After 40 years, Juan Carlos abdicated in 2014 following an initial corruption investigation involving his daughter's husband. The controversial elephant hunting trip that he took when Spain was facing the financial crisis also almost pushed him to quit as the reigning monarch.

Coverage of Juan Carlos' Corruption Scandal Revealed

Soon after the former King's abdication in June 2014, Spain's Supreme Court announced that it would track down Juan Carlos' connection with the Saudi project.

From that point, he lost his immunity from prosecution.

Prior to the June 2020 investigation, King Felipe renounced his father's inheritance in March. In addition, the royal palace divulged that Juan Carlos would not be receiving an annual grant of $228,000 anymore.

King Felipe's decision to cancel his father's stipend and renounce his inheritance was proof of his desire to take firm action as the current King. This also allowed him to distance himself from his father's scandals and stop the issues from damaging the monarchy even further.

Meanwhile, Spain's socialist-led coalition government previously rejected calls for a parliamentary inquiry concerning the king's finances. However, it has also signaled its distance from Juan Carlos.

"It's obvious that collectively Spaniards are hearing some unsettling reports that disturb all of us, and which disturb me too," the prime minister, Pedro Sanchez, said in July 2020.

Sanchez also mentioned the 1978 constitution -- under which "the person of the king is inviolable and shall not be held accountable" -- needed to undergo some changes per the society's demands.

One can only hope that King Juan Carlos' corruption scandal will serve as an eye-opener to all leaders -- not only to monarchies.

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