Thursday, November 13, 2014

Quiz with Chamara Sumanapala. Part 28: King Juan Carlos of Spain

King Juan Carlos I, the King of Spain from 1975, decided to abdicate in favor of his son, Prince Felipe, on June 2, 2014. Therefore, Felipe became the new King of Spain. Juan Carlos was one of the longest reigning monarchs in the history of Spain after the kingdoms of Aragon and Castile were united in 1479 to form the Kingdom of Spain.

Spain is a Constitutional Monarchy, which means that the king’s powers are nominal and not absolute. Kings of early history had absolute powers where the king was the ruler, law giver, judge and enforcer. Kings or Queens in constitutional monarchies have a lot of power, in name. For example, they are the Commander in Chiefs of armed forces. However, in practice, the Prime Minister rules the country. This is the case in all remaining European monarchies and also in Malaysia, Japan and some other places.

However, Kingdoms and Sultanates in the Middle East (Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and others) and some other countries have absolute monarchies.
Coronation of King Juan Carlos I of Spain (Teresa Avellanosa @Flickr) Shared under CC By 2.0

1. King Juan Carlos belongs to the Royal House which provided rulers to the Kingdoms of France, Spain and Two Sicilies. King Charles X was the last ruler of France from this Royal House. He was deposed in 1830. Francesco II was the last King of The Two Sicilies who lost his crown when the kingdom was overthrown by Garibaldi in the service of Sardinia. Spain has been ruled by this family from 1700. However, this rule has not been continuous as its kings have been deposed on several occasions. Spain remains the only country still ruled by this family. What is this Royal House?

2. King Juan Carlos came to power after the death of a dictator who ruled Spain for 36 years. Coming to power through the Spanish Civil War (1936-39) he was officially neutral during the World War II. In the latter stages of his rule, he officially declared Prince Juan Carlos as his successor and gave him a new title, Prince of Spain. Juan Carlos remained a loyal supporter of the regime in public. In November 1975, he became the King after the death of the former ruler. Who ruled Spain from 1939 to 1975?

3. Although Prince Juan Carlos expressed his support for the old regime, after coming to power, the king supported democratic government. However, the supporters of the former regime resented this. On February 23, 1981, the Guarda Civil (Civil Guard) seized the Cortes, the Spanish Parliament, and attempted to overthrow the government. The king intervened and addressed the nation on television in military uniform, thus helping the defeat of the coup. Who was the most visible figure in this February 23 (also known as 23-F) coup attempt?

4. When Juan Carlos became the Spanish king, the country’s longtime communist leader nicknamed him “Juan Carlos the brief” predicting the imminent fall of the monarchy. However, after the 23-F coup, the communist leader acknowledged the role played by the king in defeating the coup. In an emotional statement he stated that “we are all monarchists today.” This leader died in 2012, aged 97. Who was he?

5. King Juan Carlos’s popularity had gone down due to several scandals in the royal family. In 2012, during the European financial crisis, the king’s personal popularity suffered after he undertook an elephant hunting trip to an African country. To which country did he go on this trip?

Answers to Quiz No 27: Football World Cup 1982-90

1. Paolo Rossi
2. Norman Whiteside
3.  England
4. Franz Beckenbauer
5. Roger Milla

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