Laurence Debray, a close friend of the king emeritus, released her book Mon Roi déchu (My Fallen King) there reveals details about her recent reunion with Juan Carlos, whom she visited at his residence on the island of the United Arab Emirates.
The book talks about the fall of the Spanish monarch after his financial problems, his abdication in 2014 and his self-exile in Abu Dhabi since August 3, 2020.
Juan Carlos of Spain: My Fallen King
“He always liked risk. To the point of accepting to receive me,” says Debray, who has always maintained contact with the king emeritus.
There were several shocking details that Laurence revealed, one of them being the physical change of the king emeritus:
“… the king no longer has his face swollen from medicines. His hands are still as thin and clean as ever. He looks serene and has a healthy and slightly tanned face. The only thing that catches my eye are his eyes. If before they were a dazzling blue, now their pupils are surrounded by light gray. Time fades colors.”
At 83 years old, Juan Carlos has lost 12 kilograms, something that she herself noticed just seeing him:
“The king does not dress as a king. He doesn’t even wear a shirt. Clearly, the lockdown has had an impact on the way everyone dresses. He wears an overly large white T-shirt, vest, canvas pants and black shoes. You might mistake him for an American tourist, or a retired Banker from Manhattan who is in Florida. I don’t know if his shirt is too big or if he has lost a lot of weight.”
As for the health of Juan Carlos I, the journalist assures that the physical weakness is evident, “He gets up painfully and walks insecurely with a cane,” we must remember the emeritus had in 2018 a prosthesis replacement surgery on his right knee, which was implanted in 2013.
“I have to think about my funeral”
One of the topics during their meeting was the funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh, husband of Queen Elizabeth II of England. There Juan Carlos cataloged the event as “Exciting and elegant”.
“My father’s burial was very emotional. In the meantime, I have to think about mine.” Juan Carlos said.
The writer assures that despite the distance, Juan Carlos continues to yearn for Spain. WhatsApp and Zoom have become the means to be in daily contact with friends and family. In addition, he says he misses Spanish food very much.
On his plans to return to Spain, the future is uncertain, despite the multiple investigations against him, Juan Carlos has not been charged with any crime. According to Laurence Debray, he is an expat, for a temporary and indefinite time.