Former Spanish King Juan Carlos takes part in a sailing regatta at Sanxenxo Sailing Club in Sanxenxo, Spain May 20, 2022. REUTERS/Pedro Nunes | PEDRO NUNES


Hundreds of Spaniards on Friday cheered their former king, Juan Carlos, on his first public appearance in his country in more than two years after investigations in Spain and Switzerland over alleged fraud were dropped.

Returning from exile in Abu Dhabi, a frail and visibly moved Juan Carlos, walking with a cane and leaning on an aide's arm, approached the crowd outside the yacht club in Sanxenxo, a resort in northern Spain, to greet them and wave at them.
"Long live the king," the crowd cheered.

Juan Carlos came from Abu Dhabi on Thursday evening to participate in a regatta on his sailboat El Bribon, The Rascal in Spanish, his long-time friend Pedro Campos told state broadcaster TVE.

Juan Carlos I abdicated in 2014 after a series of scandals that were damaging the reputation of the royal family, including a hunting trip in Botswana. In 2021 he made million-euro payments to the tax agency to regularize his fiscal situation after it emerged that he had received undeclared income over a number of years. He is still involved in a harassment case brought against him in Britain by his former lover, Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein.

Ironically, translated into English Bribon means: rascal or rogue, funny that!