Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Accession Day: King Juan Carlos I
35 Years on the Spanish throne

On 22nd November 1975 Don Juan Carlos, the Prince of Spain, was proclaimed King of Spain in the Spanish Cortes. Spain had been a Kingdom without King since 1947, when a referendum approved the Monarchy that had been toppled by republicans in 1931.

For 35 years King Juan Carlos of Spain has enjoyed the unquestioning loyalty of his subjects and the discreet respect of the media. The King's role in helping restore democracy in Spain after the dictatorship of Franco won him the enduring gratitude and respect of a majority of Spaniards.

Born in Rome on 5th January 1938, the King returned to Spain at the age of ten, where he studied and was groomed as the successor to Franco. He was proclaimed King after General Franco's death, but steered the country toward a parliamentary system and now has little actual power.

During an attempted military coup in February 1981, the King went on television to denounce the putsch and urged the Spanish people to support the democratically elected government.

The Royal Family remains popular among Spaniards, who in May 2007 voted King Juan Carlos the greatest Spaniard of all time, beating out Christopher Columbus and Miguel de Cervantes, the author of "Don Quixote."

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