MADRID  - Spanish King Juan Carlos had urgent surgery to replace his hip Saturday after he fractured it in a fall during a private visit to Botswana, the royal palace said. The 74-year-old king “had a surgical operation on his hip this morning at USP San Jose Hospital in Madrid” after returning from the unannounced trip, the palace said in a statement. Spanish media said the king had been hunting elephants in the southern African country, but the royal palace would not confirm this. Later on, the doctors said that he was recovering from surgery. He was beginning to move his leg again after a surgeon replaced the arthritic right hip that he had fractured in the fall, the hospital that treated him said.
Spanish media said the king had been hunting big game in the southern African country, a popular elephant-shooting destination, but the royal palace would not confirm this, saying only that the trip was a private one.
It was the king’s fourth surgical operation in two years and followed a troublesome few months for Juan Carlos, whose family was hit by a corruption scandal last year.
Juan Carlos was rushed back to Spain on Friday by plane from Botswana and underwent immediate surgery overnight at USP San Jose Hospital in central Madrid, doctors said.
“He is not in pain and we plan for him to have his first physiotherapy session this evening,” said surgeon Angel Villamor, who fitted Juan Carlos with an artificial hip in a four-hour operation.