Misc 17/12/2020

EXCLUSIVE: Ex King Juan Carlos I, admitted to a clinic in Abu Dhabi with Covid-19

He was hospitalised last week, but his state is unknown

àlex Font Manté
3 min
El rei Joan Carles I, en una foto d'arxiu, abans d'exiliar-se als Emirats Àrabs Units.

BarcelonaJuan Carlos I, the ex king in exile in the United Arab Emirates, was admitted last week to the Cleveland Clinic in Abu Dhabi after being infected with covid-19, ARA has confirmed. His current condition is unknown. Consulted by this newspaper, the Royal Household has explained that it "has no information" about the ex King. The Spanish government also claims that it does not know about Juan Carlos. "This matter is being handled by the Royal Household and there is no information we can pass on."

Only nine days ago, COPE radio station assured that the King wanted to return to Spain to spend Christmas "with his daughters", but this Thursday the same station has reported that Juan Carlos I has decided not to return to Spain "for reasons related to the covid-19 pandemic".

After ARA published the news, in a press release the Royal Household denied that "Don Juan Carlos is hospitalised". Nevertheless, the Royal Household declined to specify whether the king was indeed infected with covid-19 nor whether he had been hospitalised in previous days. This newspaper put these questions to the Royal Household, yet they have only been met with silence.

It is not known how Juan Carlos contracted the virus. Since he went into exile in early August, Juan Carlos has resided in the Emirates Palace Hotel, a luxury establishment 10 kilometers from the clinic to which he was admitted. The Cleveland is a renowned clinic, a subsidiary of the eponymous facility in Ohio, United States. The health complex in Abu Dhabi was built in collaboration with Mubadala, the emirate's sovereign wealth fund.

Imatge de la Cleveland Clinic d'Abu Dhabi

The ex King has a long medical history at 82. In total, he has undergone 17 operations, many of them as a result of injuries he has had due to his physical activity. But these operations also include a lung operation (in 2010 he had a nodule removed in an operation carried out in Barcelona) and a heart operation in which he had three bypasses. This last coronary intervention took place in August 2019.

At that time, no one could have imagined that, just one year later, Juan Carlos would leave Spain due to the cases that were becoming known and that placed him at the centre of multiple fiscal irregularities.

It is now four months since current king Felipe VI's father moved to the United Arab Emirates, where he enjoys complete anonymity. In the over 120 days he has been in Abu Dhabi, only one image has been leaked: that of when he landed at the airport, published by the digital newspaper Nius. Nothing else has been known since then, except that he has no social life and that he frequently calls his friends in Spain. His daughter, Princess Elena, visited him recently. Those who know him best say that his wish is to return as soon as possible to the country where he reigned until 2014.

In any case, it is still an unknown whether this return will take place or not. Last week, Juan Carlos paid €678,000 to the Treasury to regularise his tax situation after he and some of his relatives misused of opaque credit cards. Some media have recently reported that the ex King was preparing a discreet return to Spain, after having tried at least four times since he returned (there was even speculation that he wanted to return on October 12). Other media have claimed that the Royal Household considered it premature.