By John Ensor •
Published: 30 Jan 2024 • 16:13
King Felipe VI.
King Felipe VI of Spain celebrates his 56th birthday but amidst the current political challenges it will be business as usual.
Tuesday, January 30, marks a significant milestone for King Felipe VI, who celebrates his 56th birthday. But how does this year differ from the rest?
Spanish media has highlighted that the king finds himself in a period of personal growth and profound political complexity, marking the most challenging phase of his nearly decade-long reign.
Today sees the king reflecting on both triumphs and challenges. He takes pride in Princess Leonor, the Princess of Asturias, as she matures and embarks on her military training, steadily establishing herself as the heir to the Crown. Her growing presence in Spanish households has sparked a newfound public interest and affection.
However, this day also brings a sense of disappointment. The processing of the so-called Amnesty Law in Congress coincides with his birthday.
This law, in essence, counters the core message of the King’s speech following the failed unilateral declaration of independence by Catalonia’s former president, Carles Puigdemont. This moment is likely the most politically complex of his reign.
King Felipe VI will spend his birthday at La Zarzuela, engaging in various official duties. This morning, he met with the new Governing Board of the Spanish Federation of Municipalities and Provinces.
When queried by the press about his birthday, he replied with a smile, ‘We’re going along.’
This year’s birthday is unique as it’s the first without his daughters at home. Princess Leonor is participating in sports games organized by military academies in Murcia, while Infanta Sofia continues her studies in the UK.
Both King Felipe and Queen Letizia will maintain their official schedules. On Wednesday, January 31, the king will receive birthday wishes from all ambassadors accredited to Spain at a traditional reception at the Royal Palace, hosted alongside Queen Letizia.
On Thursday, February 1, Queen Letizia will preside over the central event for World Cancer Day on Thursday, continuing her support for cancer research and patient welfare.
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Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina.
He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.
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