Destinations Magazine

Spain’s Monarchy: Winds of Change

By Stizzard
Spain’s monarchy: Winds of change Rather the son than the father

IT WAS a sorry end to an historic reign. When King Juan Carlos said he was abdicating after almost 39 years on the throne, he recognised the futility of trying to regain popularity lost by scandal and arrogance. On June 18th Spain’s parliament will give effect to the decision so his son can take the throne as Felipe VI. The news was greeted with joy. “A new era!” heralded one front page. Others spoke of a “second transition”, to match the one from dictatorship to democracy that Juan Carlos helped to steer early in his reign. A country depressed by mass unemployment and corruption saw the abdication as proof that change is possible. Juan Carlos himself talked of “hope” as one of the gifts his 46-year-old son would bring a country emerging from a bruising double-dip recession.The Spanish monarch was a victim of his own success. His aims when he was put on the throne by Francisco Franco, who appointed him as his successor, were to restore democracy and re-establish a monarchy thrown out 44 years earlier. Remarkably, he achieved both.He began as a rare thing in the late 20th century: a monarch with…

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