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Royals Attend Franco Widow’s Burial

February 7, 1988

MADRID, Spain (AP) _ King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia joined several thousand mourners Sunday at the burial of Carmen Polo de Franco, widow of dictator Gen. Francisco Franco.

Mrs. Franco died Saturday at her Madrid home from complications resulting from bronchial pneumonia. She was 87.

The government of Socialist Prime Minister Felipe Gonzalez made no public statement on Mrs. Franco’s death. She was buried in the village of El Pardo outside Madrid.

Mourners estimated by witnesses to number 5,000 lined the street leading to the cemetery, which is behind the 18th century palace where the Francos lived as Spain’s first family from 1939 to 1975.

They waved red and yellow Spanish flags bearing the black Francoist eagle and shouted ″Long live Franco 3/8″ as the funeral cortege passed.

Several dozen mourners booed Juan Carlos and scuffled with his bodyguards.

Franco designated Juan Carlos his successor in the belief that Juan Carlos would carry on his authoritarian regime.

Two days after Franco’s death on Nov. 20, 1975, Juan Carlos assumed the throne and began Spain’s transition to democracy.

Mrs. Franco was a major force behind the heavy censorship imposed in Spain during Franco’s 36-year reign.

When her husband died, Mrs. Franco became the figurehead of a loosely formed organization of Franco’s political followers, called ″El Movimiento,″ or the movement. There are no longer any members, but each anniversary of Franco’s death prompts thousands to march in the streets.

Mrs. Franco is survived by a daughter, Carmen, 60, and seven grandchildren.

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