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A Royal Celebration for the King of Spain

Mar 1, 2008
King Juan Carlos of Spain celebrated a milestone birthday earlier this year when the King turned 70 years old on January 5.

The actual date of this landmark occasion was commemorated with an intimate family gathering at home.

The following week however, Juan Carlos celebrated as only a royal can, with a birthday bash at Pardo Palace. Surrounded by no fewer than 450 of his friends, family, and many dignitaries, the King offered a toast to "all that we have achieved together." Along with other well-wishers, King Juan Carlos's son Prince Felipe offered up a toast in honor of his father's notable achievements that spanned his 70 years.

A royal public address would have been customary on such a momentous occasion, but the King was silent.

Observers speculate that hints of controversy surrounding his influence, as well as criticism of the monarchy in general, caused the royal family to remain tight-lipped. Supporters were quick to point out, however, that the King has not gone into self-appointed exile. In fact, he has made numerous public appearances in the last several months. The King even visited Spanish peacekeeping troops in Afghanistan on New Year's Eve of last year, a morale-boosting surprise.

Still, the Spanish monarchy has come under criticism in recent years after decades of unmitigated support. King Juan Carlos enjoyed unwavering support from Spaniards after he thwarted an attempted coup in 1981. Just a few years into his reign at the time, the relatively young king was highly regarded for his commitment to democratic reform.

His legacy of democracy remains even today, although it is tainted by some scandalous events. Questions about the spending habits of the Spanish royal family prompted an audit in 2007. The royal family spun it as little more than a routine financial inquiry. Royal watchers, however, saw it as an attempt to regain public favor. Also fraught with controversy was the recent separation of the king's daughter from her husband of 12 years. Though commonplace in the lives of ordinary citizens, this event may have left something of a black mark on the Spanish royal family.

Despite vocal criticism from left wing groups (including the public burning of the King's photo), supporters for the royal family still number in the hundreds of thousands. Royal watchers continue to follow the movements of King Juan Carlos with admiration. The king was photographed extensively last summer on his annual holiday in Mallorca. An avid sailor, Juan Carlos and his son Prince Felipe took part in the Breitling Sailing Cup. The event, which draws thousands of boat fans annually, seemed a fitting place for the royal father and son to mingle with crowds of like-minded fans.

Queen Sofia was also spotted out and about in Mallorca. She spent some time with her grandchildren and with Princess Alia of Jordan. Photos show a happy and carefree royal family at a ballet performance and benefit for the Queen Sofia Foundation in August, even as announcements about a royal audit were being discussed publicly.

The coming months will dictate the fate of the Spanish royal family. No doubt they will be spotted again this summer on holiday in Mallorca. They will likely continue to try to present themselves in a flattering light to help allay future criticisms. Whether or not King Juan Carlos's days are numbered is not clear.

In the meantime, staunch supporters of the royal family will continue to bolster his public image.
About the Author
For holiday information about Majorca, often known as Mallorca, including Mallorca hotels visit YourMajorca.net

Among the details at the Majorca travel site are vacation companies who offer a Majorca holiday and a five day Majorca weather forecast with today's weather in Majorca
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