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Juan Carlos I (1938–)

Subject History

Place Iberia » Spain

Period 1000 - 1999 » 1900-1999

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631209379.1999.x


King of Spain (1975–). Born during the Spanish Civil War (1936–9) in Rome, as a result of the royal family's exile from 1931, Juan Carlos spent the first ten years of his life in Italy, Switzerland and Portugal. The subsequent course of his life was to be shaped by the dispute between his father, Don Juan, and the ruler of Spain, the dictator General franco. Although Don Juan had became head of the Spanish royal house on the death of Alfonso XIII in 1941, Franco refused to name Don Juan as his successor. This was not only due to Franco's political differences with Don Juan, who was more concerned to reconcile the Spaniards in the wake of the Civil War than to perpetuate the division between the victors and the vanquished, but also to his own desire to hold onto power at all costs. Under the Succession Law of 1947 Spain was characterized as a kingdom, but it was not specified who would accede to the throne once Franco had died. A meeting the following year between Don Juan and Franco resulted in Juan Carlos being sent to Spain to complete his studies, both academic and military, under Franco's guidance. Tall and athletic, and bereft of any intellectual pretensions, he promptly revealed, much to Franco's satisfaction, a strong affinity for the army. In 1961 Juan Carlos married Sophia, daughter of King Paul I of Greece, a talented linguist and arts enthusiast. Eight years later, Franco ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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