Spain's King Juan Carlos back in hospital for hip surgery

Spain's King Juan Carlos injured his hip after falling while on a private hunting trip in Botswana.

Story highlights

  • King Juan Carlos is readmitted to a hospital in Madrid for surgery on his hip
  • The 74-year-old monarch injured his hip in a fall while on a private hunting trip in Africa
  • The trip has caused controversy because of its cost and because it included elephant hunting
  • The king had hip replacement surgery earlier this month
Spain's King Juan Carlos was recovering Friday after being readmitted to a Madrid hospital for surgery on his right hip, the Royal Palace said.
An update on the 74-year-old king's condition is expected later in the day, according to the palace.
The surgery was performed Thursday at San Jose Hospital to "reduce a dislocation" of the hip, a palace statement said.
He underwent hip replacement surgery earlier this month after falling while on a controversial private hunting trip in Botswana.
The African trip caused an outcry in Spain and abroad for its expense during the nation's economic crisis and for including the hunting of elephants.
Last week, the king made a rare apology over the trip, saying he had made a mistake which would not happen again.
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Spaniards generally hold the king in high regard for his service to the nation and his defense of democracy after the death of the dictator Francisco Franco in 1975 -- especially the king's decisive stand to halt a right-wing military coup in 1981.
But after news emerged of the expensive hunting trip, with widespread Spanish media reports that it included the hunting of elephants, even normally-staunch political allies of the monarch said publicly that they considered the timing of the trip a mistake.
The criticism of the trip initially focused on the expensive safari in the midst of the nation's deep crisis, with 23% unemployment, 5 million Spaniards out of work, and the government applying austerity cuts and tax increases to make up for budget shortfalls.
The king himself had previously expressed his concern over the impact of the crisis on Spaniards and called on the nation to come together to get through the tough times.
The royal household has a budget of 8.26 million euros ($10.8 million) this year, 2% less than last year, and had recently announced cuts of about $222,000, including trimming salaries of the highest-paid staffers at the royal palace.
Some critics also wondered how much public money was spent for security on the king's private trip.
Animal rights activists also voiced criticism, as reports emerged that the king was hunting elephants.
At least one photo, said to be from an earlier trip, showed the king, rifle in hand, standing in front of a dead elephant. It was widely published in Spanish media, which said it was taken from the website of an African safari outfitter, and that the photo was later removed from the company's site.