Spanish Government Prevents King Juan Carlos From Attending the Funeral of Queen Elizabeth II

King Juan Carlos prevented by Spanish government to attend Queen's funeral

It is being reported that the Spanish government, headed by Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez, prevents King emeritus Juan Carlos of Spain, from attending the funeral of his third cousin, Queen Elizabeth II, on Monday, September 19, in London.

This comes after Buckingham Palace has reportedly sent an invite to the former Spanish monarch, who abdicated in 2014 in favor of his son, now King Felipe VI, to attend the funeral of the late British monarch, who was always addressed by King Juan Carlos as "my cousin Lilibet".

King Juan Carlos prevented by Spanish government to attend Queen's funeral

The king's emeritus' wife, Queen Sofia, born Princess Sophia of Greece and Denmark, is a niece of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

Despite the geopolitical issue on Gibraltar, a British territory in Spain, King Juan Carlos' relationship with the British royal family remains warm and close. Prince Charles and Princess Diana, together with their sons, Princes William and Harry, even spent their summer twice in Palma de Mallorca at the invitation of King Juan Carlos.

King Juan Carlos prevented by Spanish government to attend Queen's funeral
Prince William sitting on the lap of King Juan Carlos one summer in Palma, 
in front is Prince Harry
King Juan Carlos and Prince William
King Juan Carlos and Prince William, now the Prince of Wales

King emeritus Juan Carlos, and his wife, Queen Sofia, have communicated their intention to accept the British Foreign Office's invitation to attend the funeral on September 19, according to the Spanish Royal Palace.

King Juan Carlos and Prince William
Summer in Palma de Mallorca, 1987. Upper from left: Prince Felipe, Prince Charles
Second row from left: Queen Sofia, Prince Harry, Prince William, Princess Diana, King Juan Carlos
King Juan Carlos and Prince William
Second summer in Palma de Mallorcan, 1990. From left: Queen Anne-Marie with the young Prince Philippos, Constantine II of Greece with the young Princess Theodora, Princess Diana, Prince Charles, King Juan Carlos in front of him is Prince William, Queen Sofia in front of her is Prince Harry, Infanta Cristina, and Infanta Elena of Spain

King Juan Carlos, who went abroad for a self-imposed exile in August 2020, and currently living in the United Arab Emirates, was embroiled in a corruption scandal in 2020 but was cleared in 2021 due to insufficient evidence.

King juan carlos of Spain and queen sofia
King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain
King Juan Carlos and Queen Elizabeth II
State visit of Queen Elizabeth II in Spain, 1988. From left: Prince Felipe the Prince of Asturias, Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth II, King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia
King Juan Carlos and Queen Elizabeth II
King Juan Carlos and Queen Elizabeth II

On Monday, September 12, King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia attended the inauguration of the "Picasso Year" on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Picasso's death at the Reina Sofia (Queen Sofia) museum. They met with Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, who was attending the event with his family, and the King and Queen appeared polite and cordial, greeting the PM warmly.

King Felipe and Queen Letizia attend Picasso Year
King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia during the inauguration of Picasso Year

King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia were professional as ever as they shook hands with the prime minister despite reports that his government asked King Juan Carlos not to travel to London to attend the state funeral of his cousin. 

King Felipe and Queen Letizia attend Picasso Year inauguration
Queen Letizia and King Felipe VI greeted Spanish Prime Minister despite tension between the Spanish government and the Spanish Royal House

Spanish press reported that the Spanish government privately wired the Spanish king emeritus in UAE and asked him not to attend the funeral due to his pending trial in the UK for an alleged harassment filed by his ex-lover. Adding that Spain's official representative to the state funeral would only be King Felipe VI.

However, the King emeritus, who is now a private citizen and does not receive an allowance or any monetary assistance from the Spanish government nor from the Spanish royal court, may choose to attend with Queen Sofia in a private capacity. As a private citizen he does not need a permission from the Spanish government to attend a public event.

King Juan Carlos and Queen Elizabeth II
State visit to the UK. From left: Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Queen Sofia, Queen Elizabeth II, and King Juan Carlos of Spain

This sets a debate among royal observers. Is it right for King emeritus Juan Carlos to attend? Or just stay out of public. And why the Spanish government needed to block the attendance of the former Spanish king? He will be attending the funeral, not as a representative of Spain, but as a relative.

The Spanish government's reason for preventing him from attending the funeral is, not only the UK trial on harassment but due to the fact that he might overshadow the presence of his son, Felipe VI, at the state funeral.

King Juan Carlos and Queen Elizabeth II
Abdication in 2014: The Prince of Asturias, now Felipe VI, and King Juan Carlos

The media still has a great interest in the former Spanish monarch, who, for nearly 40 years of his reign, was the most popular monarch in Europe due to his effort of guiding Spain to its transition to democracy from the dictatorship of Francisco Franco.

If ever the king emeritus will travel to London for the state funeral on Monday, it will be the first royal event that he will be attending since his abdication in 2014.

The controversial UK Trial

Juan Carlos I awaits trial in the UK after the country's High Court ruled he does not have the right to Sovereign Immunity in a case involving the alleged harassment of his ex-lover.

He is facing an allegation filed by Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein, that he sent Spanish agents to Britain to harass and threaten her, noting that suspected servants of the king broke into her London flat to spy on her.

Corrina also said that the king allegedly demanded the return of gifts he had given her when their relationship soured. 

Prosecutors in Switzerland and Spain, however, dismissed the cases filed against the former Spanish king last year over money laundering and tax evasion due to insufficient evidence. But the harassment case remains open in the UK. 

Whether King Juan Carlos will travel to London on Monday or not, remains to be seen.

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