Spanish papers have show great concern about the health of the King of Spain, Juan Carlos I de Borbón over the last year or so. Last May he was admitted to the Hospital Clinic de Barcelona for surgery to remove a growth from a lung - fortunately it proved to be benign. Sadly though, it meant that he had to give up his favourite Havana cigars.
Recently, the King has been seen sporting a dishevelled beard and walking with a cane. He also had discolouring around his eyes which lead to speculation that he was suffering from haematomas – that has now been denied. The red spots on his face have been attributed to over exposure to the sun.
The 73 year old monarch has now had an operation to replace his right knee joint. This was done to alleviate pain caused by old sporting injuries that he suffered during his younger days as a keen skier and sailor.
Apparently he is feeling well and should be out of hospital within a day. In the meantime, Crown Prince Felipe seems to be shouldering more of the responsibility of official engagements. That does not indicate that the King is ready to step down. As Queen Sofia clearly told her biographer Pilar Urbano in a recent interview.'To abdicate? Never! The king will never abdicate ... Only death can make a king retire'.