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Spain's king emeritus Juan Carlos I is no longer in the country and in fact was no longer in the Zarzuela royal palace or the city of Madrid when the statement announcing his exile was made public, according to Spanish newspaper El Mundo and television network La Sexta. For the moment, it is unknown in which country the scandal-struck former head of state will seek refuge.

The decision by the king emeritus to leave Spain, announced this Monday afternoon, will not mean any change in the situation of his wife, Queen Sofia, who will maintain her residence in the Zarzuela and will continue with her institutional activity, as she has done since Juan Carlos abdicated six years ago. Sofia, mother of current king Felipe VI, is currently on holiday at the Marivent palace in Palma de Mallorca.

"King Juan Carlos I is no longer in the Zarzuela or in Madrid at this time, reports Antonio García Ferraras in @MVTARDE. Queen Sofia is not with him."— AlRojoVivo

Juan Carlos and Sofia, former king and queen, have been emotionally distant for years, although they have maintained their residence in the Zarzuela as members of the royal family since the 2014 abdication, which was itself prompted by royal scandal with Juan Carlos at the centre.

The king emeritus today informed his son Felipe VI that he was exiling himself from Spain and had thus left the Zarzuela palace, where he still resided up till now. The Spanish royal house made the decision public today, shortly after the current Spanish monarchs had completed a tour of the country. The last Spanish king who had gone into exile was Alfonso XIII in 1931. His departure led to the declaration of Spain's Second Republic, but Juan Carlos I's move today is an attempt to preserve his son's status.

The king emeritus states in the letter to Felipe VI published today that he makes the decision to go into exile "with deep emotion but with great serenity," and quietly explains it as being motivated by "certain past events in my private life."

"Now, guided by the conviction that it will provide the best service to Spaniards, their institutions and to you as king, I inform you of my deeply-considered decision to move, for the moment, out of Spain," he said.

The current Spanish monarch stated his "appreciation and respect" for his father's decision, and even chose to stress the "legacy" of Juan Carlos I. "The king wishes to emphasize the historical importance of his father's reign, as a legacy and a political and institutional work in the service of Spain and democracy; at the same time he wishes to reaffirm the principles and values ​​on which this is based, within the framework of our Constitution and the rest of the legal system," added Felipe VI.

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