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Monday, 20 November, 2000, 02:22 GMT
King Juan Carlos: Life after Franco
The king and queen of Spain
Queen Sofia and King Juan Carlos remain popular
King Juan Carlos of Spain has spoken of his fears for the country and the burden placed on him during the transition to democracy following the death of the dictator, Francisco Franco, 25 years ago.

In a rare interview broadcast by Spanish state television, the King also touched on contemporary topics, with a message to the victims of terrorism.

The following are excerpts from his interview:

"From the outset, I knew that the monarchy could not be anything other than democratic. But the problem was, how to bring it about? This I did not know."

Before being King, one of the things I learnt, and which is still of great use to me, is to listen

King Juan Carlos
"It was Franco who passed on to me the powers over the armed forces; this gave me a huge responsibility, but it made my task easier in the end... Our armed forces were not held in high esteem by most people in those days but now they are thought of highly."

The King spoke of how his friend and mentor, the lawyer Torcuato Fernandez Miranda, had encouraged him.


"I wanted to avoid doing anything which went against the interests of Spain, but Torcuato reassured me, advising me that the law could always be changed by another law."

I want to send the affection and best wishes of the royal family to all victims of terrorism

"Since I became King, I have always wanted the monarchy to be open and close to the people, for many people to be able to reach the King, the Queen - in short, for them to be able to see us, to be able to talk to us, to be able to speak to us. Because the truth is that before being King, one of the things I learnt and which is still of great use to me is to listen."
Spanish dictator Francisco Franco
Franco: Spanish rightists still mourn his death


"I want to send the affection and best wishes of the royal family to all the victims of terrorism, to everyone who has suffered terrorism. There are many of them: members of the military, civilians, political parties, many anonymous people who maybe we do not know. But I would like to give them all my support, as the King, as well as that of the royal family."

The King pledged that terrorism would be beaten by the people "together, defending democracy".

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

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18 Nov 00 | Europe
A far cry from Franco
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