Spain’s King Juan Carlos gives up royal yacht, now donors want it returned

Former Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo in induced coma after suffering a stroke. Image: Fernando Lugo/Twitter

Only two weeks ago, the royal palace announced that ‘for austerity reasons,’ King Juan Carlos would hand over one of his most famous possessions to the government, the royal yacht.

The 35-ton aluminum yacht, Fortuna, is moored off the island of Mallorca, where the royal family has a palace and take their vacations each summer. The 30 executives who contributed to its purchase include hotel owners and bankers with links to Mallorca and other Balearic Islands, whose regional government also contributed a small part of the cost of the yacht.

Now, the businesspeople who paid for the yacht announced that if Juan Carlos did not want it, then they wanted it back. In a letter to the administrators of Spain’s national patrimony, the foundation representing the businesspeople emphasized that the gift had been made with the stipulation that the yacht be used by the king and members of his family.

The king, who is 75 and has had several health problems recently, would not miss the Fortuna all that much, in fact he has made only one outing on the vessel in 2012. But a representative of the royal household said the yacht’s future was not for the palace to decide.

Carmen Matutes, the president of the foundation that is trying to reclaim the yacht, told the Spanish news media on Monday that her organization had no intention of keeping it.

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