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juan carlos of spain
King Juan Carlos of Spain has said all Spanish people feel the pain of the families of the 80 people killed in a high-speed train crash near Santiago de Compostela.
The king was speaking on a visit to the dozens of hospitalized survivors in Santiago de Compostela, near to where the train derailed on Wednesday night.
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who hails from the city of the crash, declared three days of official mourning on Thursday.
One of the train drivers is under formal investigation, officials say.
The driver, named by Spanish media as Francisco Jose Garzon Amo, was slightly injured and will be questioned by police in hospital, the Galicia Supreme Court said in a statement.
Spain’s national train operator Renfe said it was too early to say what caused the train to derail. However, survivor accounts and media reports suggest the train was travelling at excessive speed as it hit a curve in the track.
Footage captured by a security camera shows the train crashing as it hurtled round a bend.
King Juan Carlos and his wife Queen Sofia visited survivors and the families of victims at Santiago’s University Hospital on Thursday.
“All Spanish people join in the sorrow of the relatives of the deceased,” he said, praising what he called the spirit of citizenship shown by rescue workers and blood donors.
King Juan Carlos of Spain on a visit to the dozens of hospitalized survivors in Santiago de Compostela
PM Mariano Rajoy was at the scene of the crash on Thursday.
“For a native of Santiago like me, this is the saddest day,” he said.
At least 130 people were taken to hospital after the crash, and 94 are still being treated, health officials say.
Thirty-two people are seriously injured, including children.
People from several nationalities are among the wounded, including five Americans and one Briton. One American was among the dead.
The Madrid to Ferrol train’s data recording “black box” is now with the judge in charge of the investigation.
Meanwhile, the train’s carriages have been removed from the track by cranes and sent for analysis.
The president of railway firm Renfe, Julio Gomez Pomar, was quoted by El Mundo newspaper as saying the driver, who was aged 52, had 30 years of experience with the company and had been operating trains on this line for more than a year.
He said the train which derailed had no technical problems.
“The train had passed an inspection that same morning. Those trains are inspected every 7,500km… Its maintenance record was perfect,” he told Spanish radio.
But Francisco Jose Garzon Amo, who was trapped in the cab after the accident, is quoted as saying moments after the crash that the train had taken the curve at 190 km/h (120mph) despite a speed limit on that section of 80 km/h.
If this is the case, it remains to be seen whether a systems failure or driver error was the cause, correspondents say.
Spain has invested huge amounts of money in its rail network and has a relatively good safety record.
According to official figures, the crash is one of the worst rail disasters in Spanish history.
Renfe said the train came off the tracks a few kilometres before Santiago de Compostela station at 20:41 local time on Wednesday.
It was on the express route between the capital, Madrid, and the port city of Ferrol on the Galician coast, with 218 passengers on board – in addition to an unknown number of staff and crew.
Witnesses to the crash described seeing carriages “piled on top of one another” after the train hit a curve.
The derailment happened on the eve of Santiago de Compostela’s main annual festival where thousands of Christian pilgrims were expected to flock to the city in honor of St James.
The local tourism board cancelled all festivities as the city went into mourning.
Inaki Urdangarin, King Juan Carlos of Spain’s son-in-law, is being questioned by a judge in Mallorca over a growing corruption scandal that has embarrassed the royal family.
Inaki Urdangarin, the Duke of Palma, is suspected of misusing millions of euros in public funds that were given to a charitable foundation he ran.
The duke has denied wrongdoing and has not been charged with any crime. It is the second time he has been questioned.
A crowd of protesters jeered as he arrived at the court in Palma.
Inaki Urdangarin, 45, and his former business partner Diego Torres are suspected of siphoning off money given by regional governments to the non-profit Noos Institute to organize sporting events.
It is alleged that some of the money ended up in companies controlled by the duke and in offshore bank accounts.
The events allegedly happened between 2004 and 2006, when Inaki Urdangarin stepped down as head of the institute.
Diego Torres – who was questioned by the judge last week – has also denied any wrongdoing.
Inaki Urdangarin, King Juan Carlos of Spain’s son-in-law, is being questioned by a judge in Mallorca over a growing corruption scandal that has embarrassed the royal family
Inaki Urdangarin, a former Olympic handball player, is married to King Juan Carlos’s second child, Princess Cristina. He was suspended from official royal engagements in December last year.
Anti-corruption campaigners have urged the judge to formally name Princess Cristina as a suspect, alleging that she may also have been involved.
The Spanish monarchy has tried to distance itself from the scandal.
But emails published by Spanish newspapers last week appear to show that King Juan Carlos took a close interest in his son-in-law’s business affairs.
Support for the royal family has diminished in recent years, amid criticism that is out of touch with ordinary Spaniards as they struggle with a severe economic crisis.
Last week Pere Navarro of the Catalan Socialist Party became the first prominent politician to call on King Juan Carlos to abdicate in favor of his son, Crown Prince Felipe.
King Juan Carlos is credited with guiding Spain’s transition to democracy after the death of dictator Francisco Franco in 1975.
King Juan Carlos of Spain has given a rare television interview on the eve of his 75th birthday.
In the interview, King Juan Carlos expressed his “hurt” at the number of young Spaniards forced to emigrate by economic difficulties.
The interview comes after a difficult year for the Spanish royal family.
King Juan Carlos has had to apologize for going elephant hunting in Botswana at the height of the financial crisis, while his son-in-law has been at the centre of a corruption investigation.
“One of the things that is most concerning and is in the mind of many Spaniards is the lack of jobs that leads millions of families to be unable to live with dignity and forces young people to leave Spain to look for work,” he said, adding that the situation “pained him”.
“It hurts me a lot,” he told Spanish national television station TVE.
The interview was a pitch to the Spanish people at a time when the popularity of the royal family is in decline.
King Juan Carlos of Spain has given a rare television interview on the eve of his 75th birthday
The mere fact that the King gave an interview shows that there is some concern in royal circles about the future of Spain’s royal family.
Republicanism is still a potent force in Spain, less than 40 years after the end of the dictatorship of Francisco Franco.
In the interview the king reminded his audience how he had smoothed the transition to democracy and how far, during his 37-year rule, the country had come.
“I would like to be remembered as the king who has united Spaniards, that with him democracy and the monarchy have been recovered,” he said, adding that “liberty” was a word for which he hoped he would be remembered.
There were no questions in the interview about the corruption scandal in which his son-in-law, a former handball international, now the Duke Of Palma, was mired. He has been accused of misusing funds donated to a foundation he administered, allegations he denies.
Nor was the King asked about the public apology he made after criticism of his trip to Africa while his country’s economic crisis was at its height.
A leading Spanish newspaper, El Pais, wrote in an editorial on Thursday that “the royal palace has launched in recent months a studious marketing operation to improve the image of the king”.
Just two weeks ago, King Juan Carlos had appealed to Spaniards to have confidence in themselves and their country in his annual Christmas speech.
“We cannot ignore that there is pessimism, and that its effects are felt in the social climate we are living in,” he said, after a year of mass street demonstrations and two general strikes.
Of all the measures to combat the crisis, he said “the main stimulus that will get us out of this crisis is called confidence”.
King Juan Carlos of Spain has come under fire for hunting elephants in Botswana as his country is being sucked back into the eurozone’s financial crisis and one in two youngsters are jobless.
Spanish media have slammed King Juan Carlos, 74, for the reported 32,000 Euros ($43,000) cost of the trip – and have published angry editorials alongside pictures of a previous “Big Game” hunting expedition.
They are also angry at a “lack of transparency” from the Royal Household, three months after it promised to disclose its income following a corruption probe linked to his son-in-law, Inaki Urdangarin.
It comes as fears rise that Spain will become the latest member of the eurozone to beg for a financial bailout – as its 10-year yield’s creep perilously close to the 7% level which saw Ireland, Portugal and Greece receiving a handout.
The royal holiday last week would have remained secret if the king had not tripped on a step, fractured his hip and had to be flown back urgently to Madrid to undergo hip replacement surgery on Saturday morning.
King Juan Carlos called on Spanish leaders in his annual Christmas message to set a good example. More recently, he said there were times when he could not sleep because of concern about Spain’s youth unemployment problem.
Last week he cancelled his regular weekly meeting with Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy because he had already left for Botswana, several newspapers said.
El Mundo newspaper said in an editorial: “It was an irresponsible trip, taken at the worst possible moment.
“The image of a monarch hunting elephants in Africa at a time when the economic crisis in our country creates so many problems for the Spanish people is a very poor example.”
King Juan Carlos of Spain has come under fire for hunting elephants in Botswana as his country is being sucked back into the eurozone's financial crisis
Most Spanish dailies and TV channels yesterday showed a picture of the king in front of a dead elephant, taken on a similar trip to Botswana in 2006.
The picture drew many internet and Twitter comments, some linking it to a Russian hunting trip in 2006 when the king was reported to have killed a bear which had been made drunk.
News of the King Juan Carlos’ latest trip came at a time when Spain’s political leaders face growing social anger.
Support for Mariano Rajoy fell sharply this month after his government announced deep spending cuts and health and education reforms to fight the sovereign debt crisis, an opinion poll showed yesterday.
ABC newspaper said it was Juan Carlos’ “bitterest year” since he came to the throne and became head of state shortly after the death in 1975 of dictator Francisco Franco.
King Juan Carlos, who oversaw the country’s tense transition to democracy, won respect from many Spaniards in 1981 when he publicly condemned an attempted coup.
He has remained very popular, though a poll in October showed that the Spanish people’s trust in the royal family was declining.
The monarchy was also criticized in December when Inaki Urdangarin, the husband of the King’s youngest daughter Cristina, was charged in a fraud and embezzlement case.
A separate accident also drew media attention to the royal family on Monday, when Felipe Juan Froilan, the 13-year-old son of the king’s eldest daughter Infanta Elena, accidentally shot himself in the foot with a shotgun during target practice outside a family home north of Madrid.
The incident reminded older Spaniards of a more serious royal shooting accident in 1956 when King Juan Carlos’ 14-year-old brother, Alfonso, died at the royal family’s home.
The palace said at the time that Alfonso was killed by a bullet in the head when a revolver he was cleaning went off accidentally. But historians have questioned the official version of events.
King Juan Carlos, a keen sailor, has had at least five hunting and skiing accidents in the past, some requiring surgery. He also had a lung operation in 2010 and knee and foot surgery in 2011.
Mariano Rajoy, who visited the king on Sunday, said he would resume his duties gradually and would attend their weekly meeting next Friday.
He said: “I saw him being very upbeat. He will recover very soon and resume his usual duties.”
Physicians caring for the king of Spain say he is likely to be recuperating for the next six weeks, as he delegates his duties as head of state to his son, Prince Felipe, while he recuperates.
The accident occurred early on Friday while the king was on safari in the Okavango area of Botswana. He was immediately flown home by private jet.
Angel Villamor, a spokesman for the medical team caring for him, said he is recovering well.
King Juan Carlos of Spain has undergone hip replacement surgery following a fall on a private trip to Botswana, the Royal Palace has said.
King Juan Carlos, 74, suffered a triple fracture of the hip, which the palace said was “linked to arthritis”.
This is the fourth operation the king has undergone in the past two years.
Earlier this week, the king’s 13-year-old grandson was treated in hospital after shooting himself in the foot.
King Juan Carlos underwent surgery on Saturday morning at the San Jose Hospital in Madrid, under the supervision of Dr. Angel Villamorthe.
King Juan Carlos of Spain has undergone hip replacement surgery following a fall on a private trip to Botswana
The palace said: “Juan Carlos had suffered a fracture of his right hip in three pieces, linked to arthritis. A reconstruction of the parts of the fracture was carried out and a hip implant was installed.”
It said the fall in Botswana was “accidental” but gave no further details.
But the Spanish daily El Pais said the king was hunting elephants at the time.
In three other operations since May 2010, King Juan Carlos has had a benign lung tumor removed, a torn Achilles repaired and was given an artificial right knee joint.
Last November the king wore sunglasses to hide an injury sustained when he was “hit by a doorknob”.
Earlier this week the king’s grandson, Felipe Juan Froilan, accidentally shot himself in the foot while carrying out target practice outside a family home north of Madrid.
In a new book by Spanish author Pilar Eyre is claimed that Princess Diana was just one of the many young ladies King Juan Carlos of Spain pursued in a romantic career in which he is said to have bedded more than 1,500 women.
The explosive claims are made in one of the six volumes about the Spanish royal family written by Pilar Eyre.
Imperious and suave, Juan Carlos looks every inch the old-style monarch with the autocratic manners to go with it. He loves hunting bears, skiing and boating and bedding the opposite sex.
In one picture, King Juan Carlos of Spain sits with the small Prince William, while a radiant Princess Diana, a protective arm round toddler Prince Harry, leans in to share a pleasantry with the good-looking monarch. At the other end of the couch, Prince Charles seems scarcely part of the same holiday party in 1986. He is staring glumly straight ahead like the proverbial gooseberry.
Apparently, it is an open secret in his circles that he is such a keen womanizer that the only woman he does not spend much time with is his wife, Greek-born Queen Sofia.
According to Pilar Eyre, King Juan Carlos, now 74, and Queen Sofia have not shared a bed for 35 years.
In fact, the new book, “The Solitude of the Queen”, says, following an operation on a benign lung tumor at a Barcelona hospital in 2010, the woman who spent most of the time consoling King Juan Carlos during his convalescence was a 25-year-old German interpreter called Corinne.
But can it really be true that our very own Princess Diana was one of Juan Carlos’s most significant conquests? And that it was the relationship between her and the then 48-year-old king, in the prime of his romantic life, that finally put paid to any chance of reviving his marriage?
It is certainly the case that Princess Diana, together with Prince Charles and their young children, holidayed in Majorca with the Spanish royal family several times during the 80’s.
Prince Charles never felt at ease on the sunshine island and much preferred visiting the Duke of Wellington’s estate near Granada on the mainland where the shooting was good.
In one picture, King Juan Carlos of Spain sits with the small Prince William, while a radiant Princess Diana, a protective arm round toddler Prince Harry, leans in to share a pleasantry with the good-looking monarch
But Diana, who loved lounging about on yachts in stylish bathing suits, was right at home on the shores of the Mediterranean where she could show off her figure. And King Juan Carlos, who appreciated displays of female beauty, seems to have acted on an impulse to get closer to her.
After her first trip to Majorca in 1986, Pilar Eyre alleges Diana told her bodyguard Ken Wharfe that Juan Carlos fancied her. Apparently, the king made all sorts of excuses to get tactile with her and used to love bending down with her and inviting her to stroke his old German shepherd dog, Archie.
Another royal biographer, Lady Colin Campbell, has long insisted that Princess Diana and King Juan Carlos embarked on an affair while on a cruise with their spouses in August 1986, and that they took up with each other again the following summer.
“Diana did it to make Charles jealous, but it didn’t work,” says Lady Colin. “Charles couldn’t have cared less.”
According to Pilar Eyre, rumors of the affair intensified later over the curious case of some photos of Diana in a state of undress. These were touted around the world’s publications, only to be taken off the market when someone in Spain paid $45,000 for them. That someone is rumored to have been Juan Carlos, who wanted to protect the Princess’s reputation.
But why rake all this up now? Diana is long since dead, while Juan Carlos, though he retains an eye for a pretty woman, has made it quite plain that he would never divorce his wife, with whom he has three children and eight grandchildren.
Pilar Eyre says she has revealed it for Queen Sofia’s sake.
“In a macho country like Spain, the king’s womanizing image makes him very popular,” Pilar Eyre says.
“Even the women don’t reproach him. On the contrary, they love him because he has such a seductive manner with them. But they don’t feel the same about poor Queen Sofia.
“She is seen as a cold, aloof foreigner. I wanted to show what she has had to put up with.”
Pilar Eyre says she tried hard to find out whether the Queen might also have had lovers in her time, but could come up with nothing.
Though as a young woman she had caught the eye of the Duke of Kent – first cousin to Queen Elizabeth – the Duke then fell in love with the Englishwoman he married, Kathleen Worsley.
Sofia dutifully entered into an arranged marriage in 1962, having met the highly eligible Juan Carlos on a cruise specially convened to introduce Europe’s young royals to each other.
By 1968, they had two daughters and Crown Prince Felipe. But though Sofia had fallen deeply in love with her husband, Pilar Eyre says Juan Carlos was still playing the field.
And by 1975, when he finally came to the Spanish throne after the death of the dictator General Franco, the new Queen was nursing a great sadness. For by then the royal couple was more or less estranged as a result of the king’s persistent womanizing.
According to the book, one of Sofia’s greatest humiliations happened a couple of months after Juan Carlos became king. All of a sudden he sent for a new barber and underwent such a transformation Sofia was convinced he was sprucing himself up for a lover.
A few days later the king packed his suitcase and said he was going hunting near Toledo.
“It’s an all-male outing; you’d be bored,” the king told his wife. Unwisely, Queen Sofia decided to surprise him by arriving at the estate in the middle of the night with their children, the eldest of whom was 12.
Queen Sofia burst through the door, brushed past the servants and, taking the stairs two at a time, discovered her husband in flagrante with an unknown woman. But even being caught by his entire family did not encourage the king to mend his ways.
Pilar Eyre says that throughout her reign, Queen Sofia has consequently been forced to content herself with a life of duty in Madrid, leavened by shopping trips with her daughters and occasional visits to England to visit her brother Constantine, the ex-King of Greece, who has lived in London since he was booted off the throne in 1973.
Lately Queen Sofia has taken solace in religion. She goes to Roman Catholic Mass every Sunday in the palace and attends Madrid’s Greek Orthodox church as well. Her devotions seem to annoy Juan Carlos even more.
King Juan Carlos raised his voice to his mother-in-law, Queen Federica of Greece, when he heard her telling her daughter how the Virgin Mary had appeared before her in a vision in a church near Madrid.
“There was an intense light and peace!” said Federica, at which point the king shouted: “Shut up, you! Don’t fill her head with this nonsense, she will believe it all.”
The tragedy is that despite his behavior, Queen Sofia appears to be as captivated by her husband as she was when they married 40 years ago.
At a recent family funeral Queen Sofia was seen holding tight to him and sobbing on his shoulder as if they were still the closest of companions.
Whether the book will rehabilitate Sofia in the eyes of the Spaniards or merely add to the prestige of Juan Carlos remains to be seen.