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Spain's royal reality continues, and there have been new developments in the Juan Carlos I subplot. Specifically, the country's prosecutor general, Dolores Delgado, has attracted some criticism for decreeing an extension to the preliminary proceedings against the scandal-ridden former king of Spain. Sources consulted by the digital daily El Confidencial considered this move "hasty and unnecessary", but the full plot significance of the move has yet to be clarified. Sources attribute it to one of two possible motives: either, an official step taken to dilute the controversy surrounding the royal household before the Christmas speech of Felipe VI. Or, to orchestrate the first steps in a possible "Operation Return" for the king emeritus, Juan Carlos.

Whichever of the two is the case, the motive for the Prosecutor General's extension of the investigations would have to be important, because the delay in the process against the Bourbon patriarch is described as "incomprehensible", and it does not comply with the internal regulations of the prosecution service, which establishes "the exceptionality of extensions to these proceedings according to Conclusion 11 of its 2013 Circular".

Despite the doubts raised by the actions, the fact is that delaying the closure of Spanish justice's case against the former king has the effect of delaying the moment when the 'no' from the prosecutors would force both the royal house and the Spanish government to offer Juan Carlos the ability to freely return, as in this situation he would, officially at least, have put an end to the suspicions that made him leave secretly for Abu Dhabi in August 2020.

Return with certain conditions

Sources close to the royal house have informed El Confidencial that the emeritus, with the long list of scandals he has in his baggage, does not want to return to Spain without certain conditions being met. Conditions that would further strain relations among the Bourbons themselves.

The first 'ask' on Juan Carlos's list would be to be able to live in what he considers "his home", the Zarzuela palace in Madrid. An option that the royal house, led by son Felipe VI, does not contemplate and one that deeply concerns the Spanish government, as they predict that it would trigger a public debate that would take its toll.

The interlocutors between the emeritus and the royal house have reportedly communicated another condition of the former monarch: if he is exonerated, he should regain the status he held in 2019. That is, he would receive a copious financial allowance again for status as former king. This request is not part of the Zarzuela's plans either.

Despite the decision by Juan Carlos to insist on his own conditions for his desired vuelta to the Spanish state, the royal house has no plans in place for this Operation Return let alone under his conditions.

The Bourbon house's apparent refusal to yield to the demands of its exiled ex-patriarch would strain the relationship between Felipe VI and his father. Juan Carlos's actions are not only a headache for the current king, but also for the Spanish government, which is committed to treating the issue as a family event that must be resolved within the Bourbon royal household.



Main image: Spain's king emeritus, Juan Carlos I / Europa Press