Spanish king needs to rebrand himself for hard times, says historian

Spain's King Juan Carlos is admired for many things here, such as his historic role in the transition to democracy, or his diplomatic clout in the US and Latin America
. But openness to the public? That's not a trait often associated with the Spanish monarchy.

The King's secrecy, in fact, is seen as the key to his past success as a behind-the-scenes mediator between the country's political factions. But a new era is apparently dawning at the Zarzuela, the country estate the King chose as his royal residence instead of Madrid's luxurious royal palace.

His public relations team has announced that, for the first time since Juan Carlos was installed on the throne in 1975, it will publish his agenda of private meetings and selected morsels from his discussions – that is, as long as his conversational partners agree to the public airing....

"In times of crisis, people tend to look to the King for moral guidance and leadership," said Charles Powell, a history professor at San Pablo
-CEU University in Madrid and author of the biography, Juan Carlos of Spain: Self-Made Monarch. "And when there's acute polarisation between the political parties, the King's role becomes more important."...

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