Ever since Generalissimo Francisco Franco named Juan Carlos de Borbón y Borbón as his eventual successor 18 months ago, the tall, athletic prince has played the role of silent backstop to the aging dictator with uncommon aplomb and discretion. Because Franco is sensitive about his height (5 ft. 3 in.), Juan Carlos (6 ft. 2 in.) always stays well to the rear and off to the side of the Caudillo when they must stand together. At sitdown occasions, the problem is solved by elevating Franco's seat to raise him ever so slightly...

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