Spain's King Juan Carlos told courtiers he wanted to abdicate in favour of his son because he did not want his heir to "grow old waiting for the throne like Prince Charles", it was reported yesterday.
The 76-year-old monarch, who announced his abdication last week, is said to have been influenced by the situation of the Prince of Wales who, at 65, is the oldest heir to the British throne for 300 years. His mother, Queen Elizabeth, is 88.
King Juan Carlos is said to have privately told those close to him he felt it was right to pass the throne on while his heir was still a young man.
"I do not want my son to wither waiting like Prince Charles," he reportedly told Rafael Spottorno, chief of the royal household, according to a report in Spain's El Mundo newspaper.
King Juan Carlos had been considering the decision since his 75th birthday in January 2013, his chief of staff admitted, and had discussed it at length with his inner circle.
"He saw, above all, that his son was in his prime and didn't want to see him like Prince Charles, who will be 66 years old in November," the newspaper quoted Spottorno as saying.
Zarzuela Palace refused to confirm or deny the statement. The British royal family declined to comment.