After his “thoughtful” decision to leave Spain due to the repercussions generated by his private life, King Juan Carlos, took the decision to move from Spain, leaving behind his family and his wife Queen Sofia, but certainly not his lavish lifestyle.

Boarding a plane in Vigo last Monday the King emeritus flew to Abu Dhabi with an adviser and four attendants. On his arrival in the United Arab Emirates, where he is said to be close to Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, the former monarch took a helicopter to the most luxurious hotel in the country, the Emirates Palace, where he now enjoys a suite costing 11,500 euros a night.

Although he has been seen in Abu Dhabi, the truth is that the Zarzuela Palace does not want to comment on the whereabouts of the father of the King of Spain. Specifically, Casa Real considers it to be a “private matter” and they say that it is up to the monarch himself to report the details of his whereabouts “if he considers it so.”

The decision of King Juan Carlos to leave Spain comes after months during which he has regularly featured in the headlines of the national and international press.

His decision to give up the throne came was made after a corruption investigation involving his daughter’s husband and a controversial elephant hunting trip that he took during Spain’s financial crisis.

The controversies however did not stop there. In June this year, after the ex-king lost his immunity from prosecution following his abdication, Spain’s Supreme Court launched an investigation into Juan Carlos’s alleged involvement in a high-speed rail contract in Saudi Arabia between the cities of Medina and Mecca, in which it is alleged that he charged commission of 80 million euros for mediating the works.

Juan Carlos has declined to comment on the allegations. His lawyer, Javier Sánchez-Junco, said his client remained “in any case at the disposal of the public prosecutor for any procedure or action deemed necessary”.

Retired Colonel Amadeo Martinez Ingles, 84, was not surprised at the former king’s fall from grace.  In his best-selling biography “Juan Carlos I: The King of the 5,000,” Martinez Ingles claims the former king has had nearly 5,000 lovers in his lifetime, an affair with one of which, the German-born Danish businesswoman Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein, blond and 26 years his junior, was the start of the slippery road that has led to his recent downfall.

But while prime minister Pedro Sánchez supported the monarchy by saying that “people are judged, not institutions”, Podemos party leader and Government Vice President, Pablo Iglesias, his coalition partner, said the “flight” was “unbefitting” for a head of state.

Meanwhile, Juan Carlos’ son is now facing the task of rebuilding the monarchy’s image just as the economy reels from the coronavirus pandemic. “He’s in a difficult position,” said Alberto Lardiés, author of La Democracia Borbónica. “No one wants to be the king that has to give up the monarchy.”


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