Felipe and Juan Carlos: Spain’s king agrees to meet father in Madrid

Spain’s King Felipe VI. has reportedly agreed to meet his controversial father, former king Juan Carlos, who lives in exile in Abu Dhabi, in Madrid. Felipe promised that during a phone call with his father, the Spanish state TV broadcaster RTVE and other media reported on Sunday, citing the royal family.

The king made the call from Abu Dhabi, where he flew on Sunday to offer his condolences to the former Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohammed bin Zayed, on the death of his half-brother, longtime President Khalifa bin Zayed. He died on Friday at the age of 73.

Leaving Spain in summer 2020

A date for the first trip of the Spanish old king to his homeland, which he left in the summer of 2020, and an official confirmation of the phone call were not initially known. At the beginning of March, after the end of all criminal investigations against himself, Juan Carlos announced that he wanted to remain in exile for the time being, but that he would soon be making sporadic visits to his homeland.

The influential daily newspaper “El Mundo”, which is close to the royal family, reported on Friday that Juan Carlos was angry because his son only wanted to allow a short visit to the royal residence Zarzuela near Madrid without an overnight stay. Like the left-wing government of Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, Felipe is intent on averting damage to the royal family by being too close to Juan Carlos.

According to a survey conducted a good six months ago, a narrow majority of Spaniards (53 percent) are convinced that the monarchy is an outdated institution that should be abolished. Juan Carlos is certainly to a large extent to blame for this.

After all, the 84-year-old only escaped criminal proceedings for financial irregularities because he was either protected by his immunity as king until his abdication in 2014 or the actions were statute-barred. Sánchez stressed that the ex-monarch owed the Spanish people an explanation.