King Juan Carlos of Spain arrives with wife Sofia – despite Spanish government ‘asking him not to attend because they want his son to represent the nation’
The former monarch, 84, who currently lives in self-imposed exile in Abu Dhabi, was reportedly asked not to attend today’s state funeral by Spanish prime minister Pedro Sanchéz.
But the royal, who abdicated in 2014 amid multiple legal issues, has been seen this morning alongside the world’s leaders and royals.
The disgraced former King Juan Carlos of Spain has arrived at Westminster Abbey despite a row over his attendance at the Queen’s funeral
The royal, who abdicated in 2014 amid multiple legal issues, has been seen this morning alongside the world’s leaders and royals, pictured alongside his wife, Sofia
The former monarch, 84, who currently lives in self-imposed exile in Abu Dhabi, was reportedly asked not to attend today’s state funeral
Queen Letizia of Spain and the King of Spain King Felipe VI head for Westminster Abbey
King Juan Carlos I, 84, was pictured arriving at the ‘reception of the century’ at Buckingham Palace with Queen Sofía last night
The Spanish government had reportedly made it clear they wished for King Felipe VI, Carlos’s son, to be their representative at the state funeral.
El Debate reported the ex-monarch, the late Queen’s distant cousin, was privately contacted by Spanish government officials a few days ago to ask him not to attend the service.
But Juan Carlos made the trip to London despite still awaiting trial in the UK for a harassment case involving an ex-partner.
The Royal Family extended Carlos an invitation, but it makes his first appearance at a royal event since his abdication.
Some fear it undermines the position of his successor King Felipe VI, who is also at the service today.
King Felipe and Queen Letizia of Spain looked dignified as they viewed the Queen’s coffin lying-in-state on Sunday evening
Carlos stepped down after nearly 40 years on the throne in 2014 after becoming embroiled in a scandal over alleged embezzlement and a controversial elephant hunting trip.
The former king is also awaiting trial in the UK after the country’s High Court ruled he does not have the right to Sovereign Immunity in a case involving the alleged harassment of his ex-lover Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein.
She accused him of using Spain’s national intelligence agency to harass and threaten her in London after they broke up.
Carlos had a series of affairs during his time on the Spanish throne.
Spanish investigators are also looking into a missing €600,000 (£520,000) allegedly taken by a close Mexican friend of Juan Carlos I.
Despite once counting himself among the world’s most popular monarchs, polling showed that approximately two-thirds of Spain wanted the king to abdicate when he stepped down.
Juan Carlos returned to Spain for a brief visit in 2022 but has spent the past two years living in exile in Abu Dhabi.
All the trips of Don Juan Carlos makes abroad are carefully observed by Spanish officials, according to El Mundo, with the government keenly aware of the history the monarchy has played in shaping the state.
King Juan Carlos I, a cousin of Queen Elizabeth II, was invited to the late monarch’s funeral by Buckingham Palace, but the Spanish government has reportedly asked him not to attend
‘Currently the head of state is Felipe VI and that, like his father, he also represents the existing family ties between the two royal houses,’ said foreign minister José Manuel Albares in an interview last weekend, pushing back on the idea that there was any issue with the previous monarch coming to London.
Hundreds of foreign royals and heads of state are also in attendance at what is one of the biggest diplomatic gatherings in decades.
Westminster Abbey has space for about 2,000 people. Around 500 heads of state and foreign dignitaries along with their partners are expected, according to BBC and Sky News .
A host of royals from Europe and further afield have confirmed their attendance at the funeral for Britain’s longest-serving monarch.
Japan’s Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako will attend – their first overseas trip since assuming the throne in 2019. The visit marks a departure from Japanese tradition, which rarely sees the emperor attend funerals.
Europe’s royal families are closely related after centuries of mingling their bloodlines, so it will be no surprise to see several monarchs from the continent.
King Harald V of Norway, Prince Albert II of Monaco, Dutch King Willem-Alexander, Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf and Philippe, King of the Belgians will all attend.
Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II, who scrapped a series of events marking her 50th jubilee following the death of her third cousin, Queen Elizabeth, is also coming.
Although Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia and its de facto ruler, had been invited, it emerged late on Sunday that he would not be attending.
There has been international outrage at the 2018 murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey by Saudi agents.