In Spain, It's Not Good to Be the King

Juan Carlos defends monarchy, faces down calls to abdicate
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 3, 2007 10:29 AM CDT
Spain's King Juan Carlos and his wife Queen Sofia leave the Ruber International Clinic in northern Madrid, Tuesday, May 1, 2007, where Spain's Crown Princess Letizia gave birth on Sunday to her second...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Amid loud calls for his abdication, Spain's King Juan Carlos I has been forced into the unprecedented and lowly position of justifying his throne to commoners, reports the Telegraph. Catalonian separatists have been burning effigies of him and Queen Sofia, and some are calling for him to hand the crown to his son. But Juan Carlos is not budging.

The king, who is largely a figurehead and keeps his distance from politics, addressed the masses, saying he has overseen the "longest period of stability and prosperity" in modern Spain. It's a tough moment for Juan Carlos—whose publicly-funded household recently submitted to an auditor—but he still enjoys widespread support, and was recently voted the greatest Spaniard of all time.