Spain asks former King Juan Carlos I to not attend Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral despite invitation

King Felipe VI, the current monarch of Spain, was chosen by the Spanish government as its preferred candidate to represent the country

Spain asks former King Juan Carlos I to not attend Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral despite invitation
Juan Carlos (R), former king of Spain, has been told not to attend Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral by the Spanish government (Dan Kitwood - WPA Pool, Daniel Perez/Getty Images)
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MADRID, SPAIN: In response to a dispute that threatens to sever ties between the government and the monarchy, the Spanish government is said to have urged late Queen Elizabeth II's cousin, Juan Carlos I, not to attend her official funeral. King Felipe VI, the current monarch of Spain, was chosen by the Spanish government as its preferred candidate to represent the country overseas as soon as Buckingham Palace extended an invitation to Carlos.

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According to El Debate, Spanish government authorities discreetly approached 84-year-old Carlos, former king of Spain, a few days ago and asked him not to attend the cremation. However, without the support of the Spanish government, the former monarch is free to attend in his own right. The royal family invited Carlos as a relative of Queen Elizabeth, but pictures of him at the state burial would be the first of the former king to be photographed at a royal ceremony since his abdication, possibly undermining King Felipe VI, Queen Elizabeth's nephew. Following his daughter's husband's involvement in a contentious issue involving elephant poaching, Carlos, who resides in Abu Dhabi, abdicated the kingdom after nearly 40 years.

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King Juan Carlos delivers FONDENA Award 2017 at the CESIC on November 15, 2017 in Madrid, Spain.
King Juan Carlos delivers FONDENA Award 2017 at the CESIC on November 15, 2017 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images)

The King Emeritus, Juan Carlos, is expected to attend the funeral of Queen Elizabeth that will be conducted at Westminster Abbey on September 19 at 11 am.

The UK's High Court determined that Juan Carlos I, who abdicated the Spanish monarchy in 2014, did not have the right to Sovereign Immunity in a case regarding the alleged harassment of his ex-lover. He is now facing trial in the UK. His former partner, German entrepreneur Corinna Zu Sayn-Wittgenstein, 58, claims he dispatched Spanish operatives to Britain to harass and threaten her. She also claims that his employees broke into her Knightsbridge apartment to spy on her. The romance apparently soured when the former monarch supposedly requested the return of goods he had given her after their tryst.

After looking into him for possible money laundering and tax violations in relation to a separate $100 million payment from the Saudi Arabian government, prosecutors in Switzerland and Spain abandoned charges last year. The prince is seeking to appeal the decision granting him protection from punishment due to his regal position, but the harassment case is still pending in the UK.

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King Felipe IV of Spain attends the official dinner inauguration for Mobile World Congress 2019 held at the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya on February 24, 2019 in Barcelona, Spain.
King Felipe IV of Spain attends the official dinner inauguration for Mobile World Congress 2019 held at the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya on February 24, 2019 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Robert Marquardt/Getty Images)

Polling revealed that around two-thirds of Spaniards wanted the king to abdicate when he stood down, despite the fact that he formerly considered himself to be among the most popular monarchs in the world, demonstrating how fast public opinion can change. While living in exile in Abu Dhabi for the previous two years, Juan Carlos made a brief trip back to Spain in 2022.

The end of a reign that witnessed cordial ties between the Windsors and the Bourbons was marked by Queen Elizabeth's death on Thursday at the age of 96. The matching invitations from Windsor have also been sent to Felipe IV, Queen Letizia, and Queen Sofa, the spouse of Juan Carlos.

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