January 7, 1956
Spanish monarchists recently celebrated the 18th birthday of Infante Juan Carlos, who they believe will be the next king of Spain, according to the Chicago Tribune.
The elder son of the Count and Countess of Barcelona, Juan Carlos reached his majority on January 5.
His birthday was "considered significant" by monarchists who believe that the regency council will decide on Juan Carlos' "eligibility" to become the first king of Spain since his grandfather, King Alfonso XIII, went into exile in 1931.
Juan Carlos, who Carlitos as "the Spanish call him," is a great-great grandson of Queen Victoria. His grandfather, King Alfonso XIII, married Victoria's granddaughter, Princess Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg.
His father, Don Juan, Count of Barcelona, 42, is the considered the pretender to the throne, but is unpopular with the Falange party.
Should the regency council choose Juan Carlos over his father and also be approved by a plebiscite, Don Juan would have to "turn over his claims" to his son.
After a brief time as a republic in the late 1930s, Spain "juridically" is a constitutional monarchy, re-established in 1947 with the law of succession. There is a regency council, but the country is actually a dictatorship headed by Generalissimo Franco who will decide "if and when" the monarchy will be restored.
Franco said: "The monarchy must not be a rallying point for groups antagonistic to the country's interests. It will never signify power for the rich and the aristocrats. It must be social and popular."
The Count of Barcelona and Franco have met to discuss Juan Carlo's future. The Falange party does not favor a "quick return" to the monarchy. If Juan Carlos were soon selected the succession law would have to be modified to allow the king to be younger than 30 years.
If there is to be a new regime, it would be a constitutional monarchy with "curbs on royal powers." The Count of Barcelona's mother, Queen Ena, 68, who lives in Switzerland, is said to be in favor of the old style of monarchy without the restraints that "Franco proposes to place on it."