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I was in Barcelona when Juan Carlos abdicated - he did a lot to help Spain transform itself from a fascist dictatorship to a modern democracy.

But he was clearly flawed. Corruption involving his son-in-law, and a lavish elephant hunting trip to Botswana his country was suffering its worse economic crisis for decades (and he was head of the Spanish branch of the WWF).

The Abdication of Juan Carlos

Screen_shot_2017-12-05_at_08.50.24by Patrick Howse04 Jun 2014

In the harbour
An old clinker-built boat
Rose, and now falls
On the swell.

Once brightly painted
In green, perhaps,
Or dark blue,
It gamely braved

The Mediterranean seasons,
From the foulest wind
to the freedom
To say just how naked

An emperor might be.
But beneath the waterline,
Out of sight,
Timbers rotted.

(Barcelona, June 2014)