KING STRANGER TO EX-PM

It was a sad photo that made the front pages of all the Spanish newspapers last week – a back view of King Juan Carlos with his arm round one of his closest collaborators , former Prime Minister Adolfo Suárez. It was taken in the former PM’s garden during a very private visit by the King and Queen Sofia to deliver the highest distinction that the Spanish Royal Family can award – the Collar of the Insignia of the Golden Fleece. Sr Suárez has been suffering from Alzheimer’s disease for several years and his son reported that he did not recognise the King. Adolfo Suárez Jr told reporters: “My father doesn’t even recognise members of his own family and while he didn’t recognise the King, he could feel the genuine affection the King was giving off.” The two men are credited with having steered Spain safely through the politically volatile years after the death of dictator Francisco Franco, known as the Transition.

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