Years of Exile and Uncertainty

  • Charles Powell
Part of the St Antony’s Series book series


The birth of the future king at Rome’s Anglo-American hospital on 5 January 1938 went virtually unnoticed in Spain, coinciding as it did with the battle of Teruel, one of the cruellest in the civil war. The child was the third born to Don Juan de Borbón and Doña María de las Mercedes de Borbón Orleans, who had married in the Italian capital in 1935 and settled there two years later, after being forced to leave Cannes by the French Popular Front government. Cardinal Pacelli, the future Pope Pius XII, christened the boy on 26 January with the names Juan, after his father, Alfonso, in honour of his paternal grandfather, King Alfonso XIII, and Carlos, after his godfather, the Infante Carlos de Borbón-Dos Sicilias. As a child, his family and friends invariably referred to him as Juan or Juanito, and it was not until he became a public figure several decades later that he came to be known as Juan Carlos.1


Royal Family Paternal Grandfather Cabinet Minister Foreign Legion National Reconciliation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes and Reference

  1. 1.
    It is said to have been José Maria Oríol who decided that he be called Juan Carlos once he arrived in Spain, so as to differentiate him from his own father and ingratiate him with the Carlists (see note 6) Pérez Mateos, Juan Carlos. La infancia desconocida de un Rey, p. 35. His father, however, has attributed the decision to Franco himself. Sainz Rodríguez, Un reinado en la sombra, p. 276.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Some of the king’s supporters would later claim that the absence of a suitable heir undermined his ability to defend the monarchy and stand up to his opponents in 1931. If this was the case, it remains unclear why Alfonso ΧΠΙ did not attempt to make Don Juan his heir in the late 1920s.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Don Alfonso divorced his first wife in 1937, and later married another Cuban, whom he also divorced. He died without issue in 1938 in Miami, Florida, as a result of the injuries incurred in an automobile accident. In 1934 Alfonso XIII’s fourth son, Don Gonzalo, died in Austria in similar circumstances.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    In 1935 Don Jaime married the Italian aristocrat Emmanuela Dampierre, with whom he had two sons: Alfonso, born in 1936, and Gonzalo, born in 1941.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Borbón, Mi vida marinera, p. 11.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Carlism, which first emerged in the 1820s as the extreme clerical party, took its name from Don Carlos, brother of King Ferdinand VII, who in 1833 refused to recognise his niece Isabel II as queen. In claiming the right to succeed his brother, Don Carlos denied the validity of Charles Ill’s pragmatic sanction (1776), and appealed instead to the Salic Law introduced into Spain by Philip V (1713). In the nineteenth century the Carlist programme was an amalgam of absolutism and the rural localism enshrined in the fueros (laws) of Navarre, inland Catalonia and the Basque provinces. The political climate of the Second Republic fostered the reunification of the movement into a single Traditionalist Communion (1932), under the octogenarian Don Alfonso Carlos.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Vegas Latapié, Memorias políticas, pp. 155–6, 237–9, 242–8.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Sainz Rodríguez, Un reinado, p. 347. This volume contains most of Franco’s correspondence with Don Juan between 1936 and 1974.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    In April 1937 Franco forcibly merged the Falange and the Traditionalist Communion (Carlists) into a single political organisation, Falange Española Tradicionalista y de las Juntas de Ofensiva Nacional Sindicialistas (FET y de las JONS). As his regime shed its more totalitarian trappings, this amalgam gradually came to be known as the Movimiento Nacional (National Movement).Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Sainz Rodriguez, Un reinado, p. 48.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Instead of adhering to the strict law of succession and recognising Alfonso XIII as his heir, in 1936 the Carlist pretender Don Alfonso Carlos named as regent and, implicitly, heir, his nephew Francisco Javier Borbón-Parma (henceforth, Don Javier).Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Spain has never had a King Juan, but four Juans have ruled in the land, two each in the kingdoms of Castile and Aragon. The most famous were Juan II of Aragon, father of King Ferdinand, and King Juan II of Castile, father of Queen Isabella.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Sainz Rodríguez, Un reinado, pp. 349–51.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Sainz Rodríguez, Un reinado, pp. 351–3.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Sainz Rodríguez, Un reinado, pp. 354–8.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Sainz Rodríguez, Un reinado, pp. 358–9, 258.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Sainz Rodríguez, Un reinado, pp. 359–64.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Sainz Rodríguez, Un reinado, pp. 34–7.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Lopez Rodó, La larga marcha hacia la Monarquia, p. 55.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    According to Article 6, ‘at any time the head of state may propose to the Cortes the person he considers should succeed him, either as king or as regent ...’ In order to be eligible, ‘it shall be necessary to be a Spanish male, to have reached the age of thirty, to profess the Catholic religion, to have the qualities needed to undertake such a high mission and to swear allegiance to the Fundamental Laws and to the Principles of the National Movement’.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Anson, Don Juan, pp. 260–3.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Vilallonga, The king, p. 34; Noel, Spain’s English Queen, p. 267; Pérez Mateos, Juan Carlos, pp. 92–3.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Pérez Mateos, Juan Carlos, pp. 84, 172; Lopez Rodo, Memorias, I, p. 195; Vilallonga, The king, pp. 54–5.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Pérez Mateos, Juan Carlos, p. 134.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Vilallonga, The king, p. 35.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    For the preparation of the meeting, see Pérez Mateos, El Rey que vino del exilio, pp. 21–30.Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Gil Robles, La Monarquía por la que yo luché, pp. 265–73; Sainz Rodríguez, Un reinado, pp. 220–22; Créach, Le Coeur et l’épeé, pp. 234–5.Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Sainz Rodríguez, Un reinado, p. 368; Pérez Mateos, Juan Carlos, pp. 195–9.Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Vilallonga, The king, pp. 20–6, 30; Gil Robles, La monarquia, p. 284.Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Pérez Mateos, El Rey, pp. 30–58.Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Juan Carlos appears to have been very taken by the Spanish Foreign Legion as a child. When Vegas went to visit him in 1951, the prince asked him to sing famous legionnaires’ songs.Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Pérez Mateos, El Rey, pp. 93–5; Vilallonga, The king, pp. 30–1.Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Gil Robles, La Monarquía, p. 287.Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Gil Robles, La Monarquía, pp. 294, 301–5, 308–10; Sainz Rodríguez, Un reinado, p. 369.Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    For Juan Carlos’s life at Miramar, see Pérez Mateos, El Rey, p. 133 ff.Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Sainz Rodríguez, Un reinado, pp. 370–8.Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Vilallonga, The king, p. 86.Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Sainz Rodríguez, Un reinado, pp. 378–82; Anson, Don Juan, pp. 297–8.Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Sainz Rodríguez, Un reinado, pp. 383–4; Franco Salgado-Araujo, Mis conversaciones privadas con Franco, p. 53.Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    Sainz Rodríguez, Un reinado, pp. 222–36; Franco Salgado-Araujo, Mis conversaciones, pp. 59–66.Google Scholar
  41. 41.
    On Martínez Campos and the Montellano period, see Armada, Al servicio de la Corona, p. 79 ff.Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    Juan Carlos has admitted that ‘ever since I was a small child I’d heard our economic problems discussed at home. Money was a constant worry to us’. Vilallonga, The king, p. 62.Google Scholar
  43. 43.
    ABC, 15 April 1955; Franco Salgado-Araujo, Mis conversaciones, pp. 72–4, 83–4, 102, 110, 115.Google Scholar
  44. 44.
    Franco Salgado-Araujo, Mis conversaciones, pp. 92–4.Google Scholar
  45. 45.
    Much to the irritation of the Duke of La Torre, who was obsessed with protocol, most of his cadet friends called him Juan, or Carlos, or simply Sar, after the acronym for Su Alteza Real (His Royal Highness). Vilallonga, The king, pp. 33, 104.Google Scholar
  46. 46.
    Daily Telegraph, 11 April 1956. Amazingly, the Ministry of Education subsequently authorised a secondary school textbook entitled Catholic Morality which made use of this tragic accident to explore the limits of personal responsibility. Toquero, Franco y Don Juan, p. 384.Google Scholar
  47. 47.
    Anson, Don Juan, pp. 313–14.Google Scholar
  48. 48.
    Areilza, Memorias exteriores, 1947–1964, pp. 120–2.Google Scholar
  49. 49.
    Tusell, Carrero Blanco, pp. 252–3.Google Scholar
  50. 50.
    Franco Salgado-Araujo, Mis conversaciones, pp. 264–5; Toquero, Franco y Don Juan, p. 279.Google Scholar
  51. 51.
    On the Salamanca espisode, see Armada, Al servicio, pp. 95–101; Anson, Don Juan, pp. 324–5; Sainz Rodríguez, Un reinado, p. 393 ff.Google Scholar
  52. 52.
    Sainz Rodríguez, Un reinado, pp. 236–9; Franco Salgado-Araujo, Mis conversaciones, pp. 280–2.Google Scholar
  53. 53.
    The palace derives its name from the bramble bush (zarza). In the seventeenth century it was often the venue for popular light operas, hence the musical genre zarzuela. Badly damaged during the civil war, some of its outer walls still bear bullet holes.Google Scholar
  54. 54.
    During these years Fernández-Miranda was director general of secondary education (1955–56), of university education (1956–62), and of social promotion (1962–66). He was also the author of El hombre y la sociedad (Madrid, 1960), widely used by the regime as a politics textbook. Mondéjar’s version is in Fernández-Miranda Lozana, ‘La Reforma Política’, unpublished PhD thesis, Complutense University, Madrid 1994, p. 82.Google Scholar
  55. 55.
    Armada, Al servicio, p. 138. Juan Carlos readily admits that Fernández-Miranda ‘contributed a great deal to my training to be king ... he taught me patience and serenity, and above all he taught me to see things as they are, without illusions and without trusting appearances too much’; Vilallonga, The king, pp. 67–8.Google Scholar
  56. 56.
    López Rodó, La larga marcha, pp. 178–9.Google Scholar
  57. 57.
    Toquero, Franco y Don Juan, pp. 284–6; Anson, Don Juan, pp. 330–1; author’s interview with Otero Novas.Google Scholar
  58. 58.
    Vilar, Historia del antifranquismo 1939–1975, pp. 298–9.Google Scholar
  59. 59.
    Some of his love letters, many of them written in French, were published in lnterviú, 27 January 1988.Google Scholar
  60. 60.
    Frederica, A Measure of Understanding, p. 230.Google Scholar
  61. 61.
    Suárez Fernández, Francisco Franco y su tiempo, VI, p. 306 ff; Sainz Rodríguez, Un reinado, p. 405 ff; Pemán, Mis encuentros con Franco, p. 218.Google Scholar
  62. 62.
    The British ambassador to Spain informed London that ‘I had imagined, as you will appreciate, that the engagement of Don Juan Carlos to Princess Sofía might result in the Royal Question being brought out into the open. In fact, up to the present, nothing of the sort has occurred’. G. Labouchere to E.E. Tomkins, 28 November 1961, FO 371/160786. López Rodo, La larga marcha, p. 193.Google Scholar
  63. 63.
    Frederica, A measure, p. 231; Sainz Rodríguez, Un reinado, p. 407 ff.Google Scholar
  64. 64.
    López Rodó, La larga marcha, p. 202; Franco Salgado-Araujo, Mis conversaciones, pp. 333–4.Google Scholar
  65. 65.
    Labouchere to Tomkins, 28 November 1961, FO 371/160786.Google Scholar
  66. 66.
    On taking up office as minister of information in July 1962, Manuel Fraga discovered a ‘Green Book’ containing instructions for the censors dealing with these events. Fraga Iribarne, Memoria breve de una vida pública, p. 37.Google Scholar
  67. 67.
    Labouchere to Tomkins, 18 May 1962, FO 371/163829.Google Scholar
  68. 68.
    Franco Salgado-Araujo, Mis conversations, p. 345.Google Scholar
  69. 69.
    Shortly after returning to Athens Sofía had her appendix removed. The British ambassador reported that ‘I understand that she was at the time pregnant and the operation caused a good deal of anxiety for this reason, but there has been no official confirmation of her pregnancy’. Murray to Tomkins, 22 November 1962, FO 371/163829.Google Scholar
  70. 70.
    In his letter to Franco of 8 February 1963, Don Juan emphasised the perils of living in Madrid. In his reply of 18 February, Franco observed that Juan Carlos’s visits to Estoril could prove far more harmful than residing in the Spanish capital. Sainz Rodríguez, Un reinado, pp. 409–11; Salgado-Araujo, Mis conversations, pp. 369, 374. Aurelio Vals to the Foreign Minister, 22 February 1963, MAE 7193/50.Google Scholar
  71. 71.
    Daily Sketch, 3 April 1963; San Francisco Chronicle, 11 April 1963.Google Scholar
  72. 72.
    Labouchere to the Earl of Home, 23 April 1963, FO 371/169512.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Charles Powell 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charles Powell

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations