Spain’s controversial former king Juan Carlos arrived in Vigo in the north of the country on Wednesday for a home visit. State TV broadcaster RTVE showed the 85-year-old leaning on a cane exiting a private jet and getting into a limousine.

Juan Carlos, who has lived in exile in Abu Dhabi since August 2020 after several scandals, had been in London the day before. Nothing was known about a possible private meal with King Charles III, which the media had previously speculated about. In the evening, Juan Carlos watched the soccer match between Real Madrid and Chelsea for a place in the semi-finals of the Champions League, which the Spanish record champions won 2-0.

It is only the second visit to Spain by the old king since he went into exile. There were initially no official announcements from the royal family or the government. It was also unknown whether Juan Carlos would meet his son, King Felipe VI, or his wife Sofía.

participation in a regatta

According to media reports, the passionate sailor Juan Carlos wants to take part in a regatta in the waters off the port of Sanxenxo, despite his old age and the difficulty in walking. There is also his sailing boat “Bribón” in the six-meter class, with which he wants to take part in the World Championships in August off the Isle of Wight, the newspaper “El País” reported, citing his environment. Some of his closest friends live in the small Galician port town in north-west Spain, where he also took part in a regatta on his first visit home last May.

Spanish media assumed that this second visit would be more discreet than the first. A lot had gone wrong in the past year. According to the media, it wasn’t just the intense media hype that caused “discomfort” in the royal family and the left-wing government. Juan Carlos’ behavior was also criticized as “immodest”. The old king “missed the chance” to ask the citizens for forgiveness and to explain himself, according to the government.