Spain’s King Juan Carlos reviews the troops during a visit to the military air base of Zaragoza in this October 14, 2008 file photo. Spain’s King Juan Carlos is abdicating after almost 40 years on the throne and his son Prince Felipe will succeed him, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said on June 2, 2014 in a surprise announcement. (Luis Correas/Reuters)
Few modern monarchs have experienced a swifter or more absolute fall than that of King Juan Carlos. He reigned during a time of profound change in Spain, as it transitioned from a totalitarian dictatorship under Francisco Franco, to a constitutional monarchy and open democracy.