Juan Carlos I (Spanish: [xwa??ka?los]; Juan Carlos Alfonso Víctor María de Borbón y Borbón-Dos Sicilias, born 5 January 1938) reigned as King of Spain, from 1975 until his abdication in 2014.
Juan Carlos is the grandson of Alfonso XIII, the last king of Spain before the abolition of the monarchy in 1931 and the subsequent declaration of the Second Spanish Republic. Juan Carlos was born in Rome, Italy, during his familys exile. Generalísimo Francisco Franco, the Spanish dictator who initiated the civil war by means of a coup détat against the constitutional republic in 1936, took over the government of Spain after his victory in the Spanish Civil War in 1939, and in 1947 Spains status as a monarchy was affirmed and a law was passed allowing Franco to choose his successor. Juan Carloss father, Juan, was the fourth child of Alfonso, who had renounced his claims to the throne in January 1941. Juan was seen by Franco to be too liberal and in 1969 was bypassed in favour of Juan Carlos as Francos successor as head of state.Juan Carlos spent his early years in Italy and came to Spain in 1947 to continue his studies. After completing his secondary education in 1955, he began his military training and entered the General Military Academy at Zaragoza. Later, he attended the Naval Military School, the General Academy of the Air, and finished his tertiary education at the University of Madrid. In 1962, Juan Carlos married Princess Sophia of Greece and Denmark in Athens. The couple had two daughters and a son together: Elena, Cristina, and Felipe. Due to Francos declining health, Juan Carlos first began periodically acting as Spains head of state in the summer of 1974. Franco died in November the following year and Juan Carlos became king on 22 November 1975, two days after Francos death, the first reigning monarch since 1931; although his exiled father did not formally renounce his claims to the throne in favor of his son until 1977.
Expected to continue Francos legacy, Juan Carlos, however, soon after his accession introduced reforms to dismantle the Francoist regime and begin the Spanish transition to democracy. This led to the approval of the Spanish Constitution of 1978 in a referendum, which re-established a constitutional monarchy. In 1981, Juan Carlos played a major role in preventing a coup that attempted to revert Spain to Francoist government in the Kings name. In 2008, he was considered the most popular leader in all Ibero-America. Hailed for his role in Spains transition to democracy, the King and the monarchys reputation began to suffer after controversies surrounding his family arose, exacerbated by an elephant-hunting trip he undertook during a time of financial crisis in Spain. In 2014, Juan Carlos, citing personal reasons, abdicated in favour of his son, who acceded to the throne as Felipe VI.