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Don Juan Carlos de Borbon will step down
June 2, 2014 5:35 PM   Subscribe

Juan Carlos I of Spain will abdicate in favor of his son, Felipe, Prince of Asturias. Juan Carlos may best be remembered for delivering democracy to post-Franco Spain and for defeating a 1981 coup attempt.

His supporters will also remember Juan Carlos for famously asking Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez ¿Por qué no te callas? His detractors will remember him for a 2012 elephant hunt that cost him the honorary presidency of the World Wildlife Fund, a financial scandal involving his daughter Infanta Cristina and her husband, and other incidents.

As the European celebrity press prepares for his glamorous daughter in law Letizia to become the new queen, and pundits wonder if the end of monarchy in Spain is near as a January 2014 poll showed only 41 percent of Spaniards support the monarchy in general, his third cousin, Her Majesty Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and of Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith, isn't going anywhere.
posted by Ranucci (46 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
God, monarchs are such assholes.
posted by Benjy at 5:39 PM on June 2 [1 favorite]


I heard on the radio today that many people in Spain were calling for a vote to decide on either disallowing the abdication, allowing it and enthroning Felipe, or dismantling the monarchy entirely. Good people of Spain, allow me to present a fourth option: In my capacity as King of Albania, I would be honored to have Spain enter into personal and dynastic union with Albania under me and my progeny. Thank you.
posted by Flunkie at 5:44 PM on June 2 [5 favorites]


I can't say anything better than this.
posted by eriko at 5:46 PM on June 2 [12 favorites]


Don't. Mention. Lisa.
posted by ocschwar at 5:47 PM on June 2 [5 favorites]


Massive demonstrations for Third Republic
posted by adamvasco at 5:49 PM on June 2 [4 favorites]


There is something both admirable and understandable about him—he past on being a dictator to be a constitutional monarch, and he past on being a commoner to be a constitutional monarch.
posted by ifandonlyif at 6:09 PM on June 2 [1 favorite]


A weak catholic kingdom is there for the taking .
posted by griphus at 6:10 PM on June 2 [2 favorites]


He once was the King of Spain!
posted by orrnyereg at 6:11 PM on June 2 [9 favorites]


There is something both admirable and understandable about him—he past on being a dictator to be a constitutional monarch, and he past on being a commoner to be a constitutional monarch.

Good insurance policy in case of the formation of yet another right wing Catholic dictatorship. The only thing that's shown to hold those people in check is a king.
posted by ocschwar at 6:14 PM on June 2


Los Encargados.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 6:14 PM on June 2


Ah, my favorite monarchy.
posted by longdaysjourney at 6:22 PM on June 2


Good insurance policy in case of the formation of yet another right wing Catholic dictatorship. The only thing that's shown to hold those people in check is a king.

Are you from the past?
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:23 PM on June 2 [6 favorites]


according to family lore, if george washington had instituted a monarchy, i would now be crown prince. you've never seen royal excess before.
posted by bruce at 6:26 PM on June 2 [1 favorite]


I can't say anything better than this.


Don't be so broken up about it- he could still retire to Bahrain. Or treat the whole process with disdain.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 6:28 PM on June 2


Are you from the past?

Er, isn't everyone?
posted by The Tensor at 6:39 PM on June 2 [13 favorites]


Are you from the past?


Imagine Franco without Juan Carlos. I'm just glad I can ask you to imagine it.
posted by ocschwar at 6:42 PM on June 2 [3 favorites]


Now he eats humble pie.
posted by saturday_morning at 6:55 PM on June 2 [8 favorites]


He's smiling to himself. He's laughing out loud.
posted by The corpse in the library at 7:07 PM on June 2


As hard as it is for me to say anything positive about a descendant of Ferdinand and Isabella, Juanca is pretty inoffensive as far as modern royals go.

that said i think we should immediately invade and seize all the bellota
posted by elizardbits at 7:09 PM on June 2 [3 favorites]


seize all the acorns? surely you mean seize all the jamon iberico de bellotas.

shooting an elephant is pretty offensive for some of us.
posted by bruce at 7:21 PM on June 2 [2 favorites]


I lived in Spain when Franco died and King Carlos came to power. I was in 2nd / 3rd grade at the time, living in a community of Americans off of the USAF base at Torrejon. I still vividly remember the Spanish military soldiers armed with automatic weapons on the corner near our house, keeping an eye out for any problems. Thinking about it now, it seems kind of odd that the US let them plant soldiers in a 99% American community, but I guess we technically we not on base, so maybe they could do what they want, even if the US was leasing the entire neighborhood.
posted by COD at 7:33 PM on June 2


He could have solved his popularity problem by making Friday part of the weekend, and giving every new baby a chocolate eclair.
posted by miyabo at 7:53 PM on June 2 [4 favorites]


There's some kind of joke going on in this thread, and I'm very much not getting it.
posted by evil otto at 8:01 PM on June 2 [4 favorites]


Here you go, evil otto.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 8:05 PM on June 2 [6 favorites]


As hard as it is for me to say anything positive about a descendant of Ferdinand and Isabella

Uh, is he? They switched from whatever F and I were to the Hapsburgs and then again to the Bourbons.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:15 PM on June 2


As a side bar to my final link, the Twitter parody accounts @Queen_UK and @Charles_HRH have been hilarious over the past year and a half, what with the abdications of Pope Benedict, the Queen of the Netherlands, the Emir of Qatar, the King of the Belgans, and now the King of Spain. (Standard joke: @Charles_HRH remarking it is wonderful what some parents do for their children and @Queen_Uk giving some sort of "not bloody likely" response.
posted by Ranucci at 8:25 PM on June 2 [2 favorites]


Wow; they're so traditional that the Queen (then Princess) even rides motorbikes sidesaddle!
posted by George_Spiggott at 8:32 PM on June 2


JCI and pretty much all the royals of Europe at this point are descended from F&I, yes.
posted by elizardbits at 8:46 PM on June 2 [1 favorite]


EP : thank you.
posted by evil otto at 9:04 PM on June 2 [1 favorite]


Uh, is he? They switched from whatever F and I were to the Hapsburgs and then again to the Bourbons.

He's a direct descendant. The first Bourbon king, Philip V, was a grandson of Louis XIV but also a great-grandson, through his grandmother on the French side, of Philip IV, the next-to-last Hapsburg king. The last, Charles (Carlos) II, was his first cousin twice removed. All these persons were themselves descendants of Ferdinand and Isabella -- even Louis XIV through his mother.

The distinction between Hapsburg and Bourbon is more of a legal one, then, because it involved Philip V renouncing any rights to the French throne.

OK, now is the time for me to tell my Juan Carlos story. It was the Bicentennial and we were visiting Washington. We got wind of, or saw, a motorcade [at one time this sort of thing was published in the newspapers -- that's how Hinckley tracked Reagan], but it was pulling up to someplace that is not the Spanish Embassy of the day, nor was it the White House or anything like that, just a typical squat neoclassical DC pile of some sort that had a short front stairway and a sidewalk railing around a "garden level". Some kind of NGO, perhaps. We approached as the motorcade drove up and I promptly sat down with my feet hanging into the well (I've forgotten the name for these depressed walkways). That was fine until a cop came over and told us it was a no-no. I complained to my dad and he said the reason was that I might have a bomb. So despite the fact that if I had been a, dunno, Basque separatist bomber I would have lost precisely one second between standing and dropping through the railing to do my bomb-throwing, I was deterred from this awful act during the 15 seconds that it took Juan Carlos to exit the motorcade and walk up and through the front door.

it seems kind of odd that the US let them plant soldiers in a 99% American community

Legally the host country would be responsible for security. Those soldiers were mostly there to keep you safe, methinks. Franco and Nixon were tight, you know.
posted by dhartung at 10:43 PM on June 2 [2 favorites]


I hear the Leafs are going to need a new zamboni driver.
posted by briank at 11:37 PM on June 2 [1 favorite]


Franco and Nixon were tight, you know.

I'm neither Spanish nor American, but this didn't surprise me...
posted by Harald74 at 1:21 AM on June 3


JCI and pretty much all the royals of Europe at this point are descended from F&I, yes.

At this point a substantial percentage of the European population is descended from them.
posted by atrazine at 2:50 AM on June 3 [1 favorite]


This is the moment Moxy Furvous has been waiting for all these years.
posted by Kitteh at 3:33 AM on June 3 [5 favorites]


As hard as it is for me to say anything positive about a descendant of Ferdinand and Isabella

Ugh, right? In Spain recently I saw an Avenida Isabel la Católica (or something) and for the first time (what the fuck! that asshole expelled my fucking ancestors) realized viscerally how draining it must be for black people in the US to constantly pass by things named after people who, you know, owned their family members.
posted by threeants at 3:53 AM on June 3 [1 favorite]


Yesterday I saw a few republican flags flying in my neighborhood. I didn't understand why until I got home and saw the news.

Yesterday's protests were organized at the last minute. There will be more protests tonight, probably bigger than yesterday. But the fix is already in, and unless people refuse to go home for a couple of weeks, Spain will stay a monarchy.

For me, the most important consequences right now are that the succession will further the fractures in the Socialist opposition party. Rubalcaba, the head of the Socialist party, resigned after the disastrous results in the European elections, but decided to stay on until July as party leader in order to force the party to line up and vote for the succession law that they're pushing through today. Rubalcaba's probable successor is a republican, but by the time she takes over the party Felipe will already be king.
posted by fuzz at 4:30 AM on June 3


Spasibo.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 4:35 AM on June 3


Shot an elephant in the face, now he works at pizza pizza.
posted by mcrandello at 5:02 AM on June 3 [1 favorite]


Ugh, right? In Spain recently I saw an Avenida Isabel la Católica (or something) and for the first time (what the fuck! that asshole expelled my fucking ancestors) realized viscerally how draining it must be for black people in the US to constantly pass by things named after people who, you know, owned their family members.

Imagine the same, but with the fascist generals who had your immediate family members shot, for a big chunk of the general population until a couple of decades ago. Every town had a Plaza del Caudillo, or a street General Mola, or whatever. My city had a Parque Primo de Rivera until last year.

Incidentally, the flag of Spain during Franco's regime displayed Isabel and Fernando's emblems of a yoke and arrows because Franco (and Primo de Rivera) liked them and the memory of I&F *so much*.
posted by sukeban at 5:04 AM on June 3


This is the moment Moxy Furvous has been waiting for all these years.

I expect a reunion/command performance on Q.
posted by dry white toast at 5:28 AM on June 3


I expect a reunion/command performance on Q.

Yesterday Jian Ghomeshi couldn't resist mentioning this news story in term of his former career. As an American who moved to Canada five years ago, many is the time my husband has played the "Wait, This Band Never Gained Any Traction in America?" game with me. Moxy Fruvous is one of those bands.
posted by Kitteh at 5:40 AM on June 3


sukeban: true, but no one can ignore the place-names revisionism that goes on every time there's political change, or act as if just one "side" does it; in tearing down statues and renaming parks, the Socialists are only doing now what the Nationalists did then (who, in turn, were only doing what the Caliphs did, who were only doing what the Goths did, who were only doing what the Romans did, who were only doing what Thak and Urg did, etc.). For the etymologically aware, there will be everywhere painful/joyful reminders of the vicissitudes of history.

Personally I'd rather we learn from it than memory-hole everything.
posted by resurrexit at 6:48 AM on June 3 [1 favorite]


I still don't get WHEN he will abdicate and when Felipe will get the magic feather -- er, title of king.

Also, I had no idea that for being such a ridiculously Catholic country, JC and Queen Sofia were married in a Greek Orthodox ceremony (because she's one of those Greek/Danish people whose primary aim as a family seems to have been producing royal consorts).
posted by Madamina at 7:24 AM on June 3


They had three wedding ceremonies. First a Catholic wedding and then an Orthodox one, then in the evening a civil marriage. Link in Spanish or here in English if you scroll down a lot.

As for the "ridiculously Catholic country," things have changed so much from 1962 that the upcoming queen Letizia is a divorced commoner, and nobody cares...
posted by sukeban at 10:23 AM on June 3 [2 favorites]


I still don't get WHEN he will abdicate and when Felipe will get the magic feather -- er, title of king.

There are no laws on the books governing succession in case of abdication, so they're going to pass a new law next week. Felipe should be sworn in the following week.
posted by fuzz at 10:31 AM on June 3


Personally I'd rather we learn from it than memory-hole everything.

I think it's important because when you just leave things the way they were, you're basically ceding the right to memorialization to the bastards you just overthrew. Fascists shouldn't get to have statues and roads named after them- they should be remembered for the monsters and vermin they were.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:11 PM on June 3


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