The Valley of the Fallen, the monumental mausoleum where Spanish dictator Francisco Franco is buried. Image: AFP
The Valley of the Fallen, the monumental mausoleum where Spanish dictator Francisco Franco is buried. Image: AFP

Spain will remove the remains of dictator Francisco Franco from a grandiose state mausoleum northwest of Madrid on October 24, the government announced on Monday.  

The long-awaited date was announced after Spain’s Supreme Court in September overruled a string of objections from his family, who had tried to halt the exhumation. On Thursday, the remains will be relocated to Mingorrubio El Pardo, a state cemetery 20km north of the capital, and placed next to those of his wife.

“The exhumation and reburial [of his remains] will be done in an intimate manner with his family present,” justice minister Dolores Delgado said in a statement.

Franco, who ruled with an iron fist after the end of the 1936-1939 civil war, is buried in an imposing basilica carved into a mountain in the Valley of the Fallen, 50km outside Madrid. Moving Franco’s remains has been a priority for the Socialist government of Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, which has said Spain should not “continue to glorify” the dictator, whose hillside mausoleum is topped by a 150m cross and has attracted both tourists and right-wing sympathisers.

The move has divided opinion in Spain, which is still conflicted over the dictatorship that ended with Franco’s death in 1975.

AFP