Juan Carlos (Spain)
Juan Carlos Victor María de Borbón y Borbón became the King of Spain in 1975 after the death of General Francisco Franco ended a 36-year dictatorship. Considered by Franco as his natural successor to lead his right-wing Falangist party, Juan Carlos proved instead to be democratic. He encouraged the liberalization of Spanish society, paving the way for the election of a socialist government to lead the country between 1982–96. In 1981 an attempted coup by Francoists wanting to return Spain to autocratic rule was successfully aborted.
Juan Carlos was born on 5 Jan. 1938 in Rome. His father was Juan Carlos Teresa Silverio Alfonso de Borbón y Battenburg, the third son and heir of the previous monarch, King Alfonso XIII. Alfonso had left Spain in 1931 when the country became a republic.
Juan Carlos was privately educated in Switzerland before being sent to continue his studies in Spain in 1947 where Franco set about moulding him as his successor. After his secondary...