After Franco, Who?

  • Charles Powell
Part of the St Antony’s Series book series


Contrary to what Juan Carlos had hoped, the regime did not immediately modify its treatment of him in the wake of his wedding. On 23 February 1963, after attending the annual requiem mass for Spain’s monarchs presided over by Franco at El Escorial, their first public appearance together, Juan Carlos and Sofía were dismayed to discover that state-owned television had failed to mention their presence altogether. General Castañón, who was on good personal terms with Juan Carlos, hastened to inform the minister of information of the prince’s disappointment. Manuel Fraga, who had not been noted for his monarchist sympathies in the past, agreed to exert greater control over his subordinates in future, a promise he was not always able to keep. In May, however, Franco invited Juan Carlos to occupy a prominent place during the official funeral for Pope John XXIII.1


Government Circle Deputy Prime Minister Spanish People Spanish Medium Civil Governor 
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Notes and Reference

  1. 1.
    Fraga, Memoria breve, p. 42.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Franco Salgado-Araujo, Mis conversaciones, pp. 374–5, 377; Vilallonga, The king, pp. 37, 150–1.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    A baffled British ambassador duly reported that ‘such is the curious set up in this to me still incomprehensible country that Franco and Dona Carmen were present with Don Juan at the small ceremony which I gather from one who was present was characterised by the greatest affability and cordiality on both sides’. Labouchere to D.S.L. Hodson, 31 December 1964, FO 371/ 174937.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    On the eve of the military parade, an anonymous caller threatened to kill López Rodo if Juan Carlos was present at Franco’s side. López Rodó, La larga marcha, p. 221; Salgado-Araujo, Mis conversaciones, pp. 421, 426–7.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    In April 1964 Carlos Hugo married Princess Irene of the Netherlands, who took up her husband’s cause with great zest. Franco Salgado-Araujo, Mis conversaciones, pp. 382–3.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Vilallonga, The king, pp. 59, 57.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Vilallonga, The king, p. 57.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Keyhan International, 9 February 1966. Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores, Leg. R. 8309, Exped. 8.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Vilallonga, The king, pp. 57–8, 108–9.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Armada, Al servicio, p. 120; Vilallonga, The king, p. 107.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Fraga, Memoria breve, pp. 150–1.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    López Rodó, Memorias, H, pp. 24–5; Le Figaro, 10 March 1966; Franco Salgado-Araujo, Mis conversaciones, p. 466; Armada, Al servicio, p. 111; Anson, Don Juan, pp. 350–2.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Anson, Don Juan, pp. 353–8.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    López Rodó, Memorias, II, p. 29.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    López Rodó, Memorias, II, pp. 40–1; Suárez, Franco, VII, pp. 328–9; Armada, Al servicio, pp. 110–13.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    López Rodó, La larga marcha, pp. 248–9.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    López Rodó, La larga marcha, p. 247. When asked by a French journalist which member of the royal family had the best claim to the throne, Alfonso replied that ‘only the Spanish people will be able to decide that in the future’. Le Figaro, 27 December 1966. Much to Juan Carlos’s irritation, in January 1967 his father hastened to congratulate Franco on the referendum results.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Suárez, Franco, VII, pp. 374, 395; Franco Salgado-Araujo, Mis conversaciones, pp. 488, 500, 505, 506.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    López Rodó, La larga marcha, pp. 257–61.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Spain’s first Bourbon monarch, Felipe V, was confirmed on the throne after defeating the Habsburg pretender, Charles VI, in the War of Spanish Succession; Alfonso XII was put on the throne in 1875 after a pronunciamiento by General Martinez Campos. López Rodó, La larga marcha, p. 268.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Suárez, Franco, VII, p. 412.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    López Rodó, Memorias, II, p. 345. As one observer noted, the Greek case showed that ‘an amiable young man, however ancient his lineage, and however loyal to him traditionalists among the officer corps may be, would lack the authority to control the country without the support of the Army – or to control the Army itself should it decide to seize power’. ‘The affairs of Spain’, The Times, 18 July 1969.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    López Rodó, La larga marcha, p. 267. Ferdinand VII, who reigned in the early nineteenth century, had been one of Spain’s most controversial monarchs. The general no doubt preferred the name Felipe because the Habsburg Philip II was his favourite Spanish king.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    López Rodó, La larga marcha, p. 270; Penafiel, ¡Dios salve a la Reina!, p. 106. Don Juan saw the highly respected Army officer Manuel Díez Alegría, who agreed to stage a military coup in his favour if Franco were to die without having appointed a successor. Author’s interview with García Trevijano.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    17 January 1968, The Manila Chronicle. López Rodó, La larga marcha, pp. 274–5.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Armada, Al servicio, pp. 120, 173; López Rodó, Memorias, II, p. 314.Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Mérida, Un rey sin corte, pp. 212–13; The New York Times, 10 July 1968; López Rodó, Memorias, II, pp. 313–14; Sainz Rodriguez, Un reinado, pp. 264, 312–13, 342–4. Juan Carlos’s reply, written in December 1968, has never been published. Armada, Al servicio, p. 124.Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Tusell, Carrero Blanco, pp. 333–5.Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    The formal excuse for the expulsion was that it was illegal for a foreigner such as Carlos Hugo, a French national, to become involved in Spanish politics. Carlos Hugo’s supporters were jokingly referred to as ‘hugonotes’ (Huguenots).Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Point de Vue, 22 November 1968; Armada, Al servicio, pp. 124–6; López Rodó, La larga marcha, pp. 279–81, 291–4; Fraga, Memoria breve, p. 235; author’s interview with Elorriaga.Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    López Rodó, La larga marcha, pp. 294–9.Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Franco Salgado-Araujo, Mis conversaciones, p. 537. According to López Rodó, Franco told Juan Carlos: ‘Be perfectly calm, Highness. Don’t let yourself be influenced by anything else. Everthing is prepared’. The prince is said to have responded ‘Don’t worry, General. I have already learned a great deal from your galleguismo [slyness],’ and after both laughed, Franco added ‘Your Highness does it very well’. López Rodó, La larga marcha, pp. 301–2; Armada, Al Servicio, pp. 124–6.Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    López Rodó, La larga marcha, p. 303.Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    López Rodó, Memorias, II, p. 415.Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Sainz Rodriguez, Un reinado, p. 314; Anson, Don Juan, p. 18.Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    López Rodó, La larga marcha, pp. 316–25; Vilallonga, The king, p. 54.Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    According to López Rodó, Juan Carlos told his father: ‘If you forbid me to accept, I’ll pack my bags, take Sofi and the children, and leave. I have not intrigued in order to have the choice fall on me. I agree that it would be better if you became king, but if the decision has been made, what can we do?’ López Rodó, La larga marcha, pp. 331–2, 359; Anson, Don Juan, p. 24. Vilallonga’s version – which contains numerous factual errors – reflects the king’s determination to prove that he was unaware of Franco’s true intentions, when there is ample evidence to the contrary.Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Díaz Herrera and Durán, Los secretos del poder, pp. 65–6.Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    López Rodó, La larga marcha, pp. 330–2, 335–6.Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    Vilallonga, The king, pp. 55–6.Google Scholar
  41. 41.
    López Rodó, Memorias, II, pp. 454–7, 367. Juan Carlos’s letter, dated 15 July, begins ‘I have just returned from El Pardo, where I had been called by the Generalissimo, and since we cannot speak on the telephone, I hasten to write these lines so that Nicolás, who is about to catch the Lusitania, can take them to you’. As we have seen, however, the prince’s meeting with Franco had taken place three days earlier. Areilza, Crónica de Libertad, pp. 89–91; Anson, Don Juan, pp. 16, 33–4, 41, 61–2.Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    Some of Juan Carlos’s supporters hastened to justify this choice of title on the grounds that it had once been favoured by the Habsburg monarch Philip II. López Rodó, La larga marcha, pp. 339–41, 346. As an adolescent, Juan Carlos had used a passport that bore the title of Prince of Gerona, one of the titles traditionally used by the heir to the crown. Osorio, Escnto desde la derecha, p. 42.Google Scholar
  43. 43.
    Dem, Las memorias de Alfonso de Borbón, pp. 92–3.Google Scholar
  44. 44.
    López Rodó, La larga marcha, pp. 349–53, 367; López Rodó, Memorias, II, p. 470; Areilza, Crónica, pp. 92–96; Anson, Don Juan, pp. 43–7.Google Scholar
  45. 45.
    Fernandez-Miranda, La Reforma, pp. 84–9.Google Scholar
  46. 46.
    Author’s interview with Oliero.Google Scholar
  47. 47.
    López Rodó, La larga marcha, pp. 356, 367; Girón de Velasco, Si la memoria no me falla, p. 208.Google Scholar
  48. 48.
    López Rodó, La larga marcha, pp. 362–6; Silva Munoz, Memorias políticas, pp. 237–8.Google Scholar
  49. 49.
    ABC, 23 July 1969.Google Scholar
  50. 50.
    Salmador, Las dos Españas y el Rey, p. 236.Google Scholar
  51. 51.
    López Rodó, Memorias, II, pp. 469–70.Google Scholar
  52. 52.
    Sainz Rodriguez, Un reinado, pp. 313–15; Anson, Don Juan, p. 64.Google Scholar
  53. 53.
    López Rodó, La larga marcha, pp. 379–80; ABC, 20 December 1983.Google Scholar
  54. 54.
    ‘The affairs of Spain’, The Times, 18 July 1969.Google Scholar

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© Charles Powell 1996

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  • Charles Powell

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