: I know what it is meant. But it is still quite wrong. There is a difference between
: the former King of Spain and the former King Juan Carlos.
The phrase "the former King Juan Carlos" is NOT wrong in English. At worst, it could be described as inexact. While the construction could be used to described somebody who used to be called "King Juan Carlos", but is no longer called that, it could just as easily be used to describe somebody called Juan Carlos who is the former king.
If one wants to think the best of the writer: the word "former" is used here to modify the word "King", not the phrase "King Juan Carlos". The name "Juan Carlos" is added in apposition to the phrase "the former King".
It certainly would be clearer if the writer had written "the former king Juan Carlos", or perhaps even "the former king, Juan Carlos" - but neither is necessary.
Noel S. McFerran
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