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(born Jan. 5, 1938, Rome, Italy) King of Spain from 1975. The grandson of Alfonso XIII, he lived in exile until 1947. After Francisco Franco abolished the republic and declared Spain a representative monarchy, he prepared Juan Carlos for his future role, paying particular attention to his military education. In 1969 Juan Carlos was designated prince; he acceded to the Spanish throne two days after Franco's death. Although he had sworn loyalty to Franco's National Movement, he proved to be relatively liberal and helped restore parliamentary democracy. In 1981 he deflated a potential military coup and preserved the democracy. He became the first Spanish king to visit the Americas and was the first crowned monarch to make an official visit to China. Throughout his tenure as king, he traveled abroad on many goodwill missions and was very popular at home.
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