News, Politics

King Of Spain Stepping Down

Juan Carlos I of Spain, 2007. Image: Aleph
King Juan Carlos of Spain, 2007. Image: Aleph

The King of Spain is stepping aside, to let his son take over the throne.

King Juan Carlos, age 76, will “abdicate” the throne he has occupied since 1975.

The king ruled Spain during a time of immense and important change: it went from a “dictatorship” to a “democracy.”* After the dictator Francisco Franco died, King Juan Carlos travelled around the world to boost Spain’s public image. Many people also say he helped to stabilize the country after its change to democracy.

Lately, however, the king has been having some health problems.

He has also been having “public image” problems. He has been involved in some royal scandals. For instance, Spanish people did not like it when the king went elephant hunting, especially since it was at a time when the country was having big money problems. He later apologized for going on the elephant hunt.

Also, the king’s son-in-law was investigated in connection with an embezzlement scandal. (“Embezzlement” in this case means taking money from the country and spending it improperly. Embezzlement is illegal.)

Crown Prince Felipe, 46, is the king’s son. He will take over from his father and become King Felipe IV. Felipe is married to Princess Letizia, a former television reporter. They have two daughters.

This abdication follows two others: Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands and Albert II in Belgium both stepped down last year.

When monarchs abdicate their throne, it often sparks questions about Queen Elizabeth II, who has been the queen of England since 1952. She is now 88 years old and people wonder if she will leave the throne to allow her son, Prince Charles, to take over.

However, her popularity with people in England and around the world remains high and she has given no signs that she wants to leave her throne.

It’s not known when Prince Felipe of Spain will take on his new job; the country must first change some laws to allow the prince to become king.

*A dictatorship is when a country is ruled by someone (often a military leader) who was not elected to that position. A democracy is when a country’s leaders are elected, or chosen by the people. In the case of Spain, Francisco Franco Bahamonde (known as “Franco”) was its dictator from 1939 until he passed away in 1975.

Related link
This TKN article describes the abdication of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands.

By Kathleen Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
Kings, Queens, Princes and Princesses are part of the monarchy. A monarchy is a form of government.

Does a specific monarchy play a role in your country? If so, what is it. If not, why not?

Reading Prompt: Demonstrating Understanding
A lot of the information in this article may be new to you. To make sure you understand the article, create a list of all of the people who are mentioned in this article and write down any pieces of information you know about each of about them. 

Demonstrate understanding of a variety of texts by summarizing important ideas and citing supporting details (OME, Reading: 1.4).

Demonstrate understanding of increasingly complex texts by summarizing important ideas and citing a variety of details that support the main idea (OME, Reading: 1.4).

Language Feature: Roman Numerals
Roman numerals are the number system that was used in ancient Rome. The numbers 1 to 10 can be written in Roman Numerals as follows: I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X.

If two people in a family have the same first and last name, roman numerals are often written after the first name. For example, Queen Elizabeth II is the second queen to have the first name, Elizabeth.

What are the numbers for the following roman numerals:
1. XX
2. XI
3. V
4. L
5. C
6. M