Hero to pariah: Juan Carlos’ exile sparks anger in Spain
Legal woes have forced former king into exile and tarnished the monarchy in crisis-stricken country
" Juan Carlos’ downfall started one morning in April 2012 in a hunting camp in Botswana, when he tripped on a stair and broke his hip.
Details of the previously undisclosed €40,000 trip — paid for by a Saudi businessman and shared with a former lover and her child — sparked anger at a time when Spaniards were suffering through the global financial crisis. Within days, the then Spanish king emitted an apology: “I am sorry. I made a mistake.”
This week, after more controversy and allegations, Juan Carlos formulated another apology in the form of exile. The royal was to “leave Spain” after “public repercussions that certain past events in my private life are generating”, he wrote in a statement.
It has been a rapid fall from grace for the man once feted as both the architect and saviour of Spain’s democracy. The past decade has witnessed cracks in a phenomenon author Javier Cercas called the “taboo of the king” — whereby Spain’s major media outlets long omitted negative stories about the monarchy.
“We’ve gone from not saying anything bad about the king to convicting him without a trial,” Mr Cercas said. [ ... ] ".