Spain's King Juan Carlos presided over the traditional Pascua Militar on Sunday at the Royal Palace in Madrid. It was the first time the king, who turned 75 on Saturday, left the Zarzuela Palace for an official function since undergoing hip replacement surgery at the end of November. Juan Carlos was accompanied by Queen Sofia and the Princes of Asturias.
Spanish media devoted much space and attention to the king's 75th anniversary. National newspaper ABC had the monarch on the front cover of its weekly supplement and the influential El Mundo daily quoted from the televised interview the King gave ahead of his birthday.
The king said he wanted to be remembered as the man who restored democracy and monarchy, and as the man who united all the Spaniards.Juan Carlos berated the 'breakaway' tendencies in the autonomous region of Catalonia. He also expressed confidence in Prince Felipe, the heir to the throne, who himself will celebrate his 45th birthday at the end of the month. © RB