Spain’s former King Juan Carlos I set to retire from public life

By Zach Harper

In 2014, Spanish King Juan Carlos I abdicated to make way for his son Felipe, who later became King Felipe VI. Now, the 81-year-old former monarch is set to retire on June 2, five years to the date he gave up the throne.

Spanish newspaper El Pais reports Juan Carlos wrote his son a letter in which he explained his decision, saying he had been considering it since he turned 80 in January 2018. He said the 40th anniversary of the Spanish Constitution in Congress finalized things for him.

“[It was] a solemn act, full of emotion for me, that evoked, with pride and admiration, the memory of the many people who made the political transition [to democracy] possible and renewed my feeling of permanent gratitude toward the Spanish people, the true architect and leading protagonist of that transcendental stage of our recent history,” he wrote.

MORE: King Juan Carlos of Spain abdicates

On May 17, Juan Carlos carried out his last act in public life when he presented the Spanish Order Awards 2019 to historian Miguel Ángel Ladero at the San Lorenzo de El Escorial Royal Monastery.

MORE: Prince Philip carries out his final royal engagement after more than 65 years of service

Of course, Juan Carlos isn’t the only royal to retire from public life in recent years. Prince Philip did the same thing in August 2017 when Buckingham Palace announced the Duke of Edinburgh would “no longer undertake his own program of public engagements.” Since then, the nearly 98-year-old has mostly spent his retirement at the Royal Family’s Sandringham estate, where he’s enjoying hobbies such as reading, painting watercolours and spending time with friends.

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