Origins: More than forty years ago two princes of Spain went into a bedroom with a loaded gun. One came out alive. What really happened in that bedroom — who pulled the trigger; whether or not it was an accident — will never be known.
According to an official statement from the royal household: "While His Highness, the Prince Alfonso, was cleaning a revolver with his brother, a shot went off which hit him in the forehead and killed him within a few minutes."
Which of the two royal brothers, if either, pulled the trigger may never be known but Juan Carlos himself was said at the time to have admitted to friends and family that he "felt responsible". As a military cadet. he would have been aware of the danger of loaded guns, as indeed would have Alfonso, already a keen hunter and marksman who had bagged a stag and proudly displayed its horns in the family home. Both, it seemed certain, would have been drilled not to clean loaded guns.
The two boys had been exceptionally close throughout their exiled childhood, while Franco ruled Spain, and no one doubted that young Alfonso's death had been a tragic accident.
Juan Carlos, friends said, was traumatised by the death of his only brother and never really got over it.
The shooting of
Last updated: 2 January 2005
Davison, Phil. "King's Brother Is Reburied in the Land of His Forefathers." The Irish Times. 17 October 1992   (p. 8).