Spain’s King Juan Carlos endured harsh criticism after photos showed up online of him on a hunting trip in Africa. King Carlos made a rare public apology today, saying that he was “very sorry” and that it “won’t happen again.”
The Daily Mail reports that King Juan Carlos was criticized for going on an expensive elephant hunting trip while Spain is in the middle of an economic crisis. Carlos, who underwent hip surgery last week after falling on the hunting trip, was caught outside as he left the Madrid hospital.
“I am very sorry. I made a mistake and it won’t happen again.”
CNN reports that the public wasn’t supposed to find out about the trip but when the 74-year-old king was injured and rushed back to Madrid to have his hip replaced, the media found out about his whereabouts.
The Spanish public was outraged about the king’s expensive trip. Spain currently has a 23% unemployment rate and citizens were dumbfounded that the king would leave the country for such an expensive trip. The palace said that the King went on the trip as a guest and no public money was used.
But that didn’t stop the public outrage. Animal rights activists called for the king to be stripped of his honorary presidency of the Spanish branch of the World Wildlife Fund.
Juan Carlos del Olmo, the secretary general of WWF Espana, said:
“It’s a problem of the image it sends nationally and internationally rather than the issue of elephant conservation in Botswana.”
CNN reports that the King rarely speaks publicly on current affairs but the royal family has been a constant fixture in the media lately. The king’s 13-year-old grandson shot himself in the foot earlier this month (the legal age to handle firearms is 14), and the king’s son-in-law, Inaki Urdangarin, is a suspect in a financial fraud scandal.