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The rise and fall of Juan Carlos

The rise and fall of Juan Carlos

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An elephant hunting expedition in Botswana would mark the beginning of an affair between the former King of Spain and a woman 30 years younger. Once the affair was revealed, what followed was only a matter of time.

Ιn late 1997, Elena Matheopoulou came to me with a suggestion when she asked me to work with her in the publication of Juan Carlos’s biography, the one she had put together with the help of the Spanish monarch. The book came out next May and was appropriately titled “Juan Carlos A’, The modern King”, which is a loose translation of the original Spanish Title “El rey de Nuestro Tempo”, the king of our time.

I remember being overjoyed by her suggestion, as the royal couple were scheduled to visit Greece around that time.

My enthusiasm did not only stem from the fact that I was going to publish a book. Having worked as a royal reporter for the “Point de Vue” and “Paris Match” for a long time, I had come to the conclusion that Juan Carlos is indeed Europe’s modern King, as opposed to Elisabeth of England. It bears mentioning that the two have common ancestry – they are the great grandchildren of Queen Victoria.

The fate, however, of the two, presumably, most successful monarchs of the time, was far from common.

While Elisabeth’s path was pretty much paved after her father’s passing, the “penniless prince Juanito”, as people used to mock him, could only hope for a miracle. His grandfather had been forced to step down from the throne as early as 1931, and the dictator Franco wasn’t inclined to change the regime.

Magically, right before he died, Franco appointed Juan Carlos as his successor to lead the state. If we want to review his reign today, which lasted for forty years, it would be characterized by three great achievements: he prevented a military coup, he restored Democracy in this country, in the Iberian Peninsula, and he provided the people with political and national stability.

If you wonder what triggered to bring this catastrophic end, as such, it was this.

A woman. Her name, long as a railway track, is Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn. To be precise, the name does not belong to her, rather to her ex-husband. Corinna Larsen (which is her real name), decided to keep the railway name for obvious reasons. No ambitious lady would give up a princess’s title, even after her divorce.

Corinna, in brief, met Juan Carlos in 2004, while she was still married. The man who brought the two together was the 6th Duke of Westminster. The romance began during an elephant hunting expedition in Botswana. The relationship remained hidden up to 2012. It was then that Juan Carlos had an accident which led to a series of revelations that haunt him to this day.

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To be concise, I will mention that apart from his extramarital affair, it was revealed that the king of Spain had recently transferred the amount of $65 million from his personal account in Mirabaud swiss bank, to that of his mistress.

The people were shocked to listen to a recording that was published in the Spanish press in 2018, in which a female voice asks where the honorary monarch (note: Juan Carlos stepped down in 2014 and offered the throne to his son Phelipe) gets his money.

The response left everyone speechless. “He gets on a plane and travels to the Arabic countries. He then returns, his luggage full of cash, as much as five million. He has a counting machine; I’ve seen it with my own eyes.”

Shortly prior to being summoned by the Supreme Court of Spain to testify (his immunity was lifted after his resignation), the former king Juan Carlos, got on a plane and left for the United Arab Emirates.

Sic transit gloria mundi – Thus shifts the glory of the world.

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