It was a conspiratorial visit to Zarzuela Palace, where Juan Carlos had lived for almost 60 years.

Two kings met there on Monday.

But the official calendar of the Spanish royal family has no entry on that day.

There shouldn't even be an official family photo, although the emeritus monarch met his son Felipe and his wife Sofía for the first time in almost two years.

Whether Queen Letizia and Infanta Sofía was present at lunch remained a secret, like everything else.

What happened in the Zarzuela Palace was a private matter for the royal family.

Hans Christian Roessler

Political correspondent for the Iberian Peninsula and the Maghreb based in Madrid.

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The few footage show Juan Carlos, dressed in a dark suit and pink tie, waving out the window of a gray SUV as he arrives and waving to those gathered at the gate.

Before leaving for Galicia, the king emeritus was looking forward to "many hugs" at Zarzuela Palace, which he left 21 months ago to settle in Abu Dhabi.

There are some indications that the reunion with Felipe didn't begin particularly cordially.

The royal family and government had wished for a more discreet return, during which he would first visit the head of state and his own family in Madrid before enjoying a regatta on the Galician coast with his friends.

On Saturday he took the helm of his sailing boat, which ended up winning the competition.

Juan Carlos went to a barbecue and attended a handball game with one of his grandchildren.

He had nothing to say to the Spaniards, except that he felt very comfortable.

A violation of the code of honor

A government spokeswoman on Monday regretted that Juan Carlos missed the opportunity to apologize and explain his actions;

ultimately it only harms his own reputation.

Smaller protest rallies took place in Sanxenxo and Madrid over the weekend.

One can expect a different behavior from Juan Carlos, “who for decades was the representative of the highest Spanish institution.

"He acted as if nothing had happened," commented the newspaper Periódico de España on Monday.

In doing so, he harms his son's efforts towards a transparent and modern monarchy.

This is especially true for its luxurious arrival and departure.

The private plane that first flew him from Abu Dhabi to Vigo last Thursday brought him to Madrid on Monday morning and back to the Gulf in the evening.

According to information from the newspaper "El País", the Emir of Abu Dhabi, Muhammad Bin Zayid Al Nahyan, will pay for the travel costs totaling more than 100,000 euros.

In doing so, the monarch probably violated the code of honor that his son had issued for the members of the royal family.

According to the regulations, they may only accept personal gifts if they “do not exceed social or polite customs”.

The royal family sets the framework for this.

Felipe not only publishes all of his income, he also recently disclosed his private assets.

Juan Carlos wants to fly to the next regatta in Sanxenxo in June and stay there with friends for two weeks.

And in London the trial that his former lover Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein is conducting against him continues.