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King's barber holds court over royal woes

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King's barber holds court over royal woes
Spain's King Juan Carlos was in Rabat on Wednesday as part of his four-day state-visit to Morocco. Photo: Fadel Senna
11:35 CEST+02:00
Part-time philosopher and full-time magician with the scissors, Barcelona-based coiffeur Pascual Iranzo has been cutting the hair of Spain's King Juan Carlos for over 30 years.

Working out of his hairdresser's salon in Barcelona's Passeig de Gràcia, Pascual Iranzo has being taming the errant locks of the rich and famous for decades.

Along the way, his customers have included the Colombian writer Gabriel García Márquez and Dutch footballing legend Johan Cruyff.

But the pony-tailed Iranzo's most powerful client is almost certainly Spain's King Juan Carlos, according to Spanish daily El País

Generally speaking, this lively 80-year-old —  he still runs marathons — visits Madrid's Zarzuela Palace when the monarch needs a short back and sides.

Sometimes, however, King Juan Carlos will swing by his establishment.

The always elegant Iranzo still recalls his first meeting with the monarch some 30 years ago. A friend called and asked :"What are you doing?"

When the hairdresser admitted he was just about to tuck into a bowl of fish soup, the friend stopped him dead. "Well I want you to come and take a look at the King."

Shortly afterwards, Iranzo fronted up to meet the Spanish head of state with a friend, and the young son of that friend.

"Do you know who I am?" said the King to the child.

At that point, the hairdresser's friend had a minor panic attack. The children at his son's school had given the King a nickname: he was known as "the Crown".

Was the moniker about to slip out?

Fortunately the child rose to the occasion, replying to the King: "You are Juan Carlos the First".

For his part, Iranzo is concerned about the country's monarch.

The Spanish Royal Family has been implicated in a number of scandals in recent times, with the most serious of these being a long-running corruption case against the King's son Iñaki Urdargarin.

Urdargarin, married to the King's youngest daughter Cristina, is alleged to have siphoned money from a charitable sports foundation to overseas bank accounts.

"He (The King) is very affected by the situation, but he will get through. 

"He is spirited, brave and tremendously intuitive.

"He has a wild spirit, and it's not just me who says this, his mother said it too," the charismatic hairdresser told El País.

"He knows how to be tough when he has to be".

But the hairdresser also recognizes that being the King of Spain has its downsides.

"Sometimes it's difficult for him to speak by telephone with his children.

"I've seen him pick up the phone in front of me.

"The King says he wants to speak to the Princess and the person at the other end of the line doesn't believe him. They just laugh at him."

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