“Swear to me you didn’t do it on purpose!” –Asked Juan de Borbon y Battenberg Count of Barcelona in a shout, with his eyes fixed on those of his eldest son, who would later be King Juan Carlos . Wrapped in a Spanish flag torn by Don Juan himself from the mast of the Viila Giralda residence in Estoril, Portugal, the body of his other son, Alfonso, barely 14 years old, lay on the floor. The flag was getting stained with blood dripping from his face, where a .22-caliber bullet had struck him high in the nose.
Juan Carlos, 18, the future king of Spain, did not answer his father’s question. Don Juan’s question and his eldest son’s silence became known years after that night of March 29, 1956, Holy Thursday for more information, when between 8:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. I scream in the room on the third floor of the palace, where Juan Carlos and his brother Alfonso were alone with the door closed.
The official statement from the Spanish embassy in Lisbon was brief, they announced that Alfonso himself had killed himself by accident. Spain was under the dictatorship of Francisco Franco, who wanted to keep the royal family away but began to see in the eldest of Don Juan’s sons, who would become King Juan Carlos, an alternative to reinstate the monarchy. In Portugal, where the Bourbons had their golden exile, the fascist dictatorship of Antonio de Oliveira Salazar kept the country under a cloak of silence. In the media throughout the Iberian Peninsula, the news about the death of the infante Alfonso de Borbon was limited to reproducing official communiqués.
King Juan Carlos murdered his younger brother in an accident
The absence of an official investigation and the secrecy of the Bourbons wrapped Alfonso’s death in a halo of mystery. Little by little and collecting different testimonies from family members and members of the environment, it was possible to reconstruct with some precision how the events had developed inside the gym. A letter from the uncle of the future king Juan Carlos and Alfonso, don Jaime de Borbon was the first document that shed some light on the facts. “My dear Ramon: Several friends have recently confirmed that it was my nephew Juan Carlos who accidentally killed his brother Alfonso,” he wrote to his private secretary.
Don Juan de Borbon himself told his friend Bernardo Arnoso that when he entered the room he saw the now King Juan Carlos with a weapon in his hand. He told her that he believed his eldest son had pointed her gun at his brother thinking the gun was not loaded and, jokingly or carelessly, he had pulled the trigger. After the funeral services for his youngest son, Don Juan got on board his imposing black Bentley to travel to an indeterminate coastal area and, once there, he threw the pistol into the sea. ” No policeman was able to examine the weapon; no judge investigated the facts; no forensic examiner examined the body. Only Juan Carlos knows what happened in that room . ” .