King of Spain's marriage 'on rocks' as anniversary ignored
KING Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain will not hold private or public celebrations of their Golden Wedding anniversary, the royal court has confirmed, in a development that appears to confirm an estrangement in the relationship.
When they celebrated their silver wedding anniversary on May 14, 1987, they hosted a lavish reception at the Royal Palace, inviting 25 other couples from throughout Spain who married on the same day.
Their golden wedding, which falls next Monday, will be marked with no such celebration. The lack of a formal celebration has prompted speculation over the state of the 74-year-old monarch's marriage.
Doubts were raised about the relationship recently when King Juan Carlos fractured his hip during a safari trip to Botswana to hunt elephants. Amid the public outcry over the nature and expense of the private trip, which led to an unprecedented apology by the monarch, it was noted that Queen Sofia had paid only a brief visit to his bedside.
Royal commentators claimed it showed the breakdown in their relationship.
"The failure of his marriage to Queen Sofia, from whom he is practically separated, is public knowledge," wrote commentator Jose Antonio Zarzalejos.
The roving eye of King Juan Carlos has long been an ill-kept secret, but with the taboo on publishing palace secrets a thing of the past, his acquaintance with a German aristocrat, a glamorous blonde 28 years his junior, has made headlines.
Claims of an "intimate relationship" going back six years have been fiercely contested by the woman, who is reported to have accompanied him on the Botswana trip. (© Daily Telegraph, London)