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Queen Letizia and King Felipe arrive in Mallorca with daughters Princess Lenor and Sofia

Queen Letizia and King Felipe VI of Spain have been spotted for the first time since runaway former King Juan Carlos caused shockwaves around the country on Monday by announcing he was leaving his homeland.

The Spanish royals, who were joined by daughters Crown Princess Leonor, 14, and Infanta Sofia, 13, waved from a car upon their arrival at the Marivent Palace in Palma de Mallorca, Balearic Islands on Saturday.

The family appeared to put safety first as they donned protective face masks ready for their summer holidays to officially begin. 

Juan Carlos, whose eldest son Felipe VI became King of Spain in 2014 following the long-standing monarch's abdication, departed Spain after Swiss prosecutors opened an investigation into bank accounts allegedly held by Juan Carlos in tax havens. 

Spanish Queen Letizia, Infanta Sofia (2-L), King Felipe VI (R) and Crown Princess Leonor (2-L) wave from a car upon their arrival at the Marivent Palace in Palma de Mallorca, Balearic Islands in Spain on 7 August 2020, for their summer holidays

On Monday, the Spanish Royal Household announced that Emeritus King Juan Carlos proclaimed his intended decision to move abroad so as to not interfere the image of the Spanish monarchy due to his alleged implication in a Swiss offshore account investigation

Spain has launched its own investigation based in part on information shared by Switzerland about cash the former king allegedly received as part of his involvement in a high-speed Saudi Arabia rail contract.

The Spanish Royal Household has so far declined to comment on Juan Carlos's whereabouts.

The news emerged in a letter to his son made public late in the day.

He wrote 'Guided by my conviction I can offer the best service to Spaniards, its institutions and to you as King, I am communicating my decision to move away from Spain. 

Spanish King Felipe VI (R) and Crown Princess Leonor (L) wave from a car upon their arrival at the Marivent Palace in Palma de Mallorca, Balearic Islands, Spain on Saturday

'It's a decision I am taking with deep feeling but with great serenity.

'I have been King of Spain for almost 40 years and during that whole time, I've always wanted the best for Spain and for the Crown.'

He signed off the letter: 'With affection as always, your father.'

It later emerged he had already left Spain by the time the letter was released by the Royal Household.

His departure sparked mixed reactions, with monarchists and right-wing politicians accusing the government of forcing him into exile and critics of the former king accusing him of an amateur attempt to protect himself and his son from the corruption scandals threatening the future of Spain's dwindling royal family. 

Who is Spain's former king, Juan Carlos I?

Juan Carlos I reigned as king of Spain from November 1975 until his abdication in June 2014

Juan Carlos I reigned as king of Spain from November 1975 until his abdication in June 2014. 

He was a popular monarch for most of his four-decade reign who played a critical role in the country's transition to democracy. 

He 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, on January 5, 1938, during his family's exile. He came to Spain in 1947 to continue his studies and entered the Zaragoza military academy. 

He completed his tertiary education at the University of Madrid and went on to marry Princess Sofia of Greece and Denmark in Athens in 1962. 

They went on to have two daughters and a son together: Elena, Cristina, and Felipe.  

Juan Carlos first began periodically acting as Spain's head of state in the summer of 1974. Fascist dictator Francisco Franco died in November the following year and Juan Carlos became king on 22 November 1975, two days after Franco's death.

Juan Carlos was hailed for his role in Spain's transition to democracy and reforms to dismantle the Francoist regime. 

However the King and the monarchy's reputation began to suffer after controversies surrounding his family arose. 

In April 2012, Juan Carlos faced criticism for an elephant-hunting trip in Botswana during a time of financial crisis in Spain. 

King Felipe pictured with former king Juan Carlos and Spain's Queen Letizia at the Spanish National day military parade in Madrid on October 12, 2012

The public found out about the trip only after the King injured himself and a special aircraft was sent to bring him home.

Spanish officials stated that the expenses of the trip were not paid by taxpayers or by the palace, but by businessman Mohamed Eyad Kayali.

Corruption scandals circling the royal family closed in when his daughter, Princess Cristina, was accused of tax fraud in 2014 and became the first Spanish royal to stand trial. She was later acquitted, but her husband was sentenced. 

He abdicated in favour of his son, Prince Felipe, in 2014, and last year, Juan Carlos announced his decision to withdraw from public life, ending his remaining institutional functions and appearances from June 2019. Last August, he successfully underwent heart surgery in Madrid.  

In June 2020, Spain's supreme court prosecutor opened an investigation into Juan Carlos' involvement in a high-speed rail contract in Saudi Arabia that was granted to a group of Spanish companies in 2011.

King Felipe renounced his own inheritance and stripped his father of his palace allowance in March after reports the latter received $100 million from the late Saudi king and gave millions to a businesswoman.  

It has since been alleged that Spain's runaway former King is hiding out in a £10k-a-night suite at a luxury Abu Dhabi hotel after fleeing amid corruption scandal.

Former Spanish King Juan Carlos's hideaway is a £10,000-a-night presidential suite in one of the world's most expensive hotels in Abu Dhabi, it was claimed on Friday.

Respected right-wing Spanish daily ABC reported the 82-year-old dad-of-three checked into the Emirates Palace Hotel on Monday evening, around the same time his letter to his son Felipe VI announcing his decision to leave Spain was made public.

It said he had taken a private plane from Vigo near Spain's north-west border with Portugal on Monday with at least five other passengers including four bodyguards.

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