Leonor and Juan Carlos: four years of ‘official’ separation


December 6 is a day marked in a special way in the Spanish calendar. It was on this date that it was ratified the Spanish Constitution, the supreme norm of the legal system of our country, in the year 1978, which would enter into force on the 29th of that month, 44 years ago. A law in which King Juan Carlos had a prominent role, although this time he will not be in Spain to celebrate it.

Don Juan Carlos and Princess Leonor together / Gtres

Last August marked two years since the hasty departure of King Juan Carlos from Spain. It was in the summer of 2020 when, in the midst of a health crisis as a result of the coronavirus, the previous head of state left Spain to move to the United Arab Emirates, specifically, to Abu Dhabi. Since then, Don Juan Carlos has been the subject of many debates and numerous headlines and, despite the fact that he made an express trip to our country last spring, the reality is that he is not expected to return settle in Spain.

He himself confirmed in a letter published by the Palacio de la Zarzuela when his pending accounts with the Justice in Spain were filed that his intention was to maintain his residence outside the country from which he has been head of state for almost four decades: “This is how I would like to end this stage of my life from the serenity and perspective that time has elapsed. As you know, in 2019 I communicated my desire to retire from public life, and I will continue to do so. In this sense, both in my visits and if I were to reside in Spain again in the future, it is my purpose to organize my personal life and my place of residence in private areas to continue enjoying the greatest possible privacy,” the letter said. in which Felipe VI’s father also expressed that he was aware “of the importance for public opinion of past events in my private life.”

King Felipe with Don Juan Carlos and Princess Leonor / Gtres
King Felipe with Don Juan Carlos and Princess Leonor / Gtres

According to this letter, last May, Philip V’s fatherI returned to Spain, where he spent just a few days. He first in Galicia and, later, before returning to the Emirates, he stopped at the Palacio de la Zarzuela, where he had a meeting with the monarch and had lunch with his family. A meeting of which no images have been released, although some details were made public: “HM the King and Don Juan Carlos have had a long conversation about family matters, as well as about different events and their consequences in Spanish society since the King’s father decided to move to Abu Dhabi on August 3, 2020″, read the text released by the communication department, which also confirmed that those attending the lunch had been the King and Queen, the Infanta Doña Sofía , the Queen Doña Sofía, the Infanta Doña Elena and her children, and the Infanta Doña Margarita and Don Carlos Zurita. No sign of the Infanta Cristina and her children, nor of Princess Leonor, who was studying in Wales.

Despite the fact that the absence of the heiress was more than justified, the truth is that now that the anniversary of the Magna Carta is celebrated, it is also four years since the last time the previous monarch participated in a prominent anniversary of the Constitution, in 2018, on its fortieth anniversary. An important date in which different acts were carried out, in which not only the King and Queen Felipe and Letizia participated, but also Juan Carlos and Sofía, as well as Princess Leonor and her sister, Infanta Sofía. . Moreover, it was precisely in this context that the heiress read her first words in public.

But, beyond Leonor’s leading role, the truth is that it was on December 6, 2018, at the commemorative act of the ratification of the Magna Carta when The Princess was last seen in public with King Juan Carlos. The last image of the entire Royal Family before Felipe VI’s father asked, at first, to retire from institutional life before the summer of 2019 and that, in 2020, events precipitated with his departure from Spain .

King Felipe with Don Juan Carlos and Princess Leonor / Gtres
King Felipe with Don Juan Carlos and Princess Leonor / Gtres

Despite some of his grandchildren -and especially his two daughters- have gone to visit him in Abu Dhabi, both the King and Queen Sofía have established a ‘sanitary cordon’ regarding Don Juan Carlos. An official distance that has only been crossed last September, at the funerals of the Queen Isabel, in which barely Don Felipe and Doña Letizia were seen exchange words with Don Juan Carlos. What’s more, although the King has recently traveled to Qatar to support the Spanish National Team, he hasn’t even seen his father, who is a short distance away.

While in his brief stay in Spain last May Don Juan Carlos Yes, he was able to see the Infanta Sofía, Leonor has not seen her -unless it has come out-, much longer. Apart from possible family meetings from 2018 to 2020, the only thing that is clear is that since Don Juan Carlos left Spain that summer, there is no record of a meeting with his granddaughter and it seems unlikely that it will take place in the short term. .


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