Leonor de Borbón was last photographed with King Juan Carlos in 2018. She was at the Constitution ratification ceremony on Dec. 6, and this is the last photo of her granddaughter and grandfather together since that day.
Long gone are the family photos showing then-King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofía with their children and grandchildren in the summer in Marivent, during family celebrations and even on skis.
The misfortune of Juan Carlos I began when Iñaki Urdangarin was indicted in 2011, then the King broke his hip in Botswana in 2012 while hunting elephants. This also coincides with his mistress, Corinna Larsen making headlines and accompanying him on the controversial trip.
Corinna, Botswana trip, Urdangarin
At that time, Leonor and Sofia were still small, five and three years old respectively. The image of the royal family had begun to deteriorate after years of good reputation. These circumstances shaped the girls’ relationships with their paternal grandparents, especially with Don Juan Carlos.
After being proclaimed king, Don Felipe tried to distance himself from the controversy so as not to tarnish his reign. The stability of the monarchy in Spain depended on the new image of the heir to the throne.
Juan Carlos I reportedly visited Leonor and Sofia every week at the Zarzuela. This happened privately, but publicly there is no evidence.
An emotional moment was when Felipe VI presented Leonor with the Golden Fleece for her 50th birthday in 2018. The princess approached Don Juan Carlos, gave him a bow, and then kissed the outgoing monarch, who had tears in his eyes. Since then, the monarch has not attended any major events, even by invitation.
Leonor made her debut at the Princess of Asturias award ceremony without him
Leonor made her debut at the 2019 Princess of Asturias Awards gala, and Don Juan Carlos’ absence was significant. The ceremony was attended by Doña Letizia’s entire family and her paternal grandmother, Queen Sofia. In her speech, Leonor addressed them affectionately, omitting those who were retiring.
In August 2020, Don Juan Carlos settled in Abu Dhabi, where he leads a life of luxury. He lives in a resort consisting of 11 villas, each worth more than 11 million euros. Despite the luxury facilities, Emeritus misses Spain and is far away from his family.
Over the years, we have seen Infanta Cristina and Elena visit their father in the United Arab Emirates. From time to time, King Emeritus’ daughters would fly to Abu Dhabi with their children so as not to lose contact with Don Juan Carlos.
Leonor did not see King Emeritus on his visit to Spain
The heir to the throne is the only granddaughter who has not seen Don Juan Carlos since his departure from Spain. In May he returned to Spain to participate in a regatta in Galicia. He took advantage of the trip to meet some of his family members in Zarzuela.
The meeting was attended by King Felipe and Queen Letizia, Infanta Sofia, Infanta Elena with her children, and Infanta Margarita. Besides Leonor, Infanta Cristina and her four children were also absent.
The opinion has been strengthened that Queen Letizia, who is very protective, wants to keep the heiress away from any controversy or influence that could destabilize her image and that of the monarchy.