To be honest, I'm not a big fan of monarchies. However King Juan Carlos was more than a monarch who lived a good life and rode around in elegance.
He was a central figure in Spain's transition from Franco to democracy, as explained by Terrance McCoy of The Washington Post:
"Juan Carlos reigned during a time of profound change in Spain, as it transitioned from a dictatorship under Francisco Franco to a constitutional monarchy and open democracy. And he was a unifying figure in a country divided by regional tensions that spawned, among other things, an often violent Basque separatist movement.His greatest moment was in 1981 when he saved the young democracy:
He arrived like something out of a Disney movie and came to embody the hope of an entire nation. Young, handsome, brimming with ideas for the future and equipped with an uncanny ability to win over the common man, Juan Carlos became a paragon of what a constitutional monarch could be. He was hailed internationally as one of the world’s most popular kings and revered locally by the fervent “JuanCarlistas.”
But even his popularity could not surmount Spain’s crippling economic slump, which has saddled the nation since 2008 and left 4.7 million Spaniards unemployed."
"......he thwarted an attempted coup when he went on national television and announced that neither he nor the country would abide such behavior.Most Spaniards are unhappy because of the lousy economy. There were also some family scandals regarding one of his daughters.
“The Crown cannot tolerate in any form any act which tries to interfere with the constitution which has been approved by the Spanish people,” he said.
The confidence he conveyed in his declaration endeared him to many Spaniards who found him honest and strong."
At the same time, I think that serious Spaniards are appreciative of what King Juan Carlos did for the country.
Overall, King Juan Carlos gets good marks for what he did for Spain.
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