Here’s a look at the life of the former King of Spain.
Birth date: January 5, 1938
Place of birth: Rome, Italy
Birth Name: Juan Carlos Alfonso Victor Maria de Borbon and Borbon
Father: Don Juan de Borbon y Battenburg, Count of Barcelona, third son of King Alfonso XIII. from Spain
Mother: Dona Maria de las Mercedes de Borbon y Orleans, Princess of the Two Sicilies and Countess of Barcelona
Wedding: Princess Sofia of Greece (since May 14, 1962)
Children: Infanta Elena of Spain, Elena Maria, Isabel, Dominica de Silos de Borbon y Grecia, Duchess of Lugo, December 1963; Infanta Cristina of Asturias, Cristina Federica Victoria Antonia de la Santísima Trinidad de Borbón y Grecia, Duchess of Palma de Mallorca, June 1965; Prince of Asturias, Felipe Juan Pablo Alfonso y de la Santísima Trinidad y de Todos los Santos de Borbón y Grecia, January 1968
Training: Marianist, Fribourg, Switzerland; Instituto San Isidro, Madrid, Spain; College for Naval Orphans, Spain; Zaragoza Military Academy, Zaragoza, Spain; Naval School, Marin, Spain; Spanish Air Academy, San Javier, Spain; University of Madrid, Spain
Military: Spanish Army, Spanish Navy, Spanish Air Force
The Spanish royal family pays income taxes by constitutional provision and lives voluntarily in a converted hunting lodge, the Zarzuela Palace.
The Palacio Real, the Royal Palace, in Madrid is used for formal events such as visits by heads of state.
First visited the United States in 1958 while training as a midshipman aboard the Juan Sebastian Elcano.
Great-great-grandson of Queen Victoria, distant cousin of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip.
Both King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia are descendants of Queen Victoria.
Distant relative of 15th-century King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain.
1947 – Generalissimo Francisco Franco’s law of succession states that the Spanish royal family will return to power after his death.
1948 – Makes first trip to Spain after Franco and Don Juan de Borbon agree to Spanish education for heir apparent.
1960 – Completes military training and becomes the first Spanish officer to hold the rank of lieutenant in all three branches of the military.
Aug 1962 – During his honeymoon he visits the United States and meets US President John F. Kennedy.
1969 – Invested as Crown Prince and designated as Franco’s successor.
Nov 22, 1975 – Crowns Juan Carlos I, King of Spain two days after the death of Franco, restoring the Spanish monarchy after a 44-year interregnum.
1st-4th June 1976 – First reigning Spanish monarch to visit the United States. He meets with US President Gerald Ford.
1977 – Implements political reforms leading to first democratic elections since 1936.
1978 – The passage of a new constitution gives the monarchy more than just a titular or ceremonial role in government.
February 1981 – An attempted coup is blocked when troops loyal to the king refuse to join the rebellion.
2000 – Celebrates his 25th anniversary of the throne.
March 11, 2004 – Addresses the nation and visits the wounded after 10 bombs explode on four commuter trains during rush hour in Madrid.
November 10, 2007 – Says to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, “Why don’t you shut up?” (¿Por qué no te callas?), during the Ibero-American Summit in Santiago, Chile.
May 8, 2010 – A growth was removed from his right lung and turned out to be benign.
Aug 8, 2010 – Together with Queen Sofia, US First Lady Michelle Obama and her youngest daughter Sasha welcome the summer palace on the island of Mallorca.
April 14, 2012 – Undergoes hip surgery after a fall while on a trip to Botswana. He will be taken again later in the month to reduce a hip “dislocation”. In November 2012 he underwent another hip operation.
July 2012 – Removed as honorary president of World Wildlife Fund (WWF) – Spain has faced widespread criticism after its elephant hunting trip in Botswana in April. “While not illegal, the hunt was widely viewed as inconsistent with the King’s position at the helm of WWF Spain,” the group said in a statement. He has held honorary positions since 1968.
March 3, 2013 – Is hospitalized for a herniated disc. A small fire breaks out in the hospital while he recovers, but he is unaffected.
September 2013 – Undergoes third hip surgery in Madrid to replace infected joint.
June 2, 2014 – Announces he is abdicating in favor of his son Prince Felipe.
June 18, 2014 – Abdication official.
January 14, 2015 – A panel of 12 judges ruled that Juan Carlos must face a paternity suit – brought by a Belgian woman who claims he is her father – in the nation’s Supreme Court. Ingrid Sartiau from Brussels claims that her mother and Juan Carlos had a relationship in late 1965 and as a result she was born in August 1966. At the time, Juan Carlos was married but still a prince.
March 11, 2015 – Spain’s Supreme Court dismisses paternity suit against Juan Carlos
11/29/2016 – Attend the memorial service for former Cuban leader Fidel Castro.
June 2, 2019 – Officially retires from public life.
June 8, 2020 – Spain’s Supreme Court has announced an investigation into Juan Carlos over possible crimes involving an alleged $100 million wire transfer from the Saudi king in 2008 for a high-speed rail project in Saudi Arabia. Switzerland is also examining the contract.
August 3, 2020 – Leaves Spain amid investigation into alleged financial deals. In a letter to his son, King Felipe VI, Juan Carlos writes that he made the decision to leave “given the public repercussions that certain past events are causing in my private life”.
December 2021 – Swiss prosecutors drop charges against Juan Carlos over Saudi railway project.
March 2022 – The Spanish public prosecutor’s office has closed its investigation against Juan Carlos and is not bringing any charges.
May 19, 2022 – Juan Carlos has been living in the United Arab Emirates since his self-imposed exile and is traveling to Spain for the first time since he fled almost two years ago.