Not even the royal family, his own Spanish one, has remembered that today Juan Carlos I has turned 83 years old. Complete silence from his son Felipe VI. In fact, the monarchy seems to have gone on holiday and has not updated its Twitter account or even the Highlights section of its website since December 24th, with the Christmas Eve message of the current king (in itself, an exercise in omission) still the main story.
From within the family, the only warmth he has left is from his eldest daughter, the Infanta Elena. She has decided, according to celebrity column La Otra Crónica, to blow out the candles with her father in Abu Dhabi, where she has been on holiday since last Sunday.
The other surprise is that of Spanish politicians. Until the day ends, the congratulations could still roll in, but we are deep into the second half of this January 5th and the silence is almost total. Even one of his last and most fervent defenders, the president of the Community of Madrid, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, seems to have forgotten to congratulate the king emeritus. Not so much as a tweet. Not even the political parties: not those in government - PSOE and Podemos - nor the more conservative opposition PP, Vox, and Ciudadanos. They've all disappeared.
Yet, in spite of everything, Juan Carlos I has received one birthday salutation from an ex-politician, Rosa Díez. The former MP and founder of the deeply Spanish-nationalist UPyD party had some kind words for the abdicated monarch: "King Juan Carlos I is 83 years old today. It is just to recognize that in his service to Spain the positive balance far exceeds what is owing".
With a karaoke version of the famous tune Amigos para siempre in the background, Díez accompanies her text with a montage of pictures of the former king. Smiling images from his life and recent Spanish history, captioned with messages - such as "Our best ambassador" and "Always with the Spanish people" - which some may well read with a hint of irony, given the financial investigations focusing on the now-exiled king.
Hoy cumple 83 años el Rey Juan Carlos I. Justo es reconocerle que en su servicio a España su saldo en el haber supera, con creces, al debe. pic.twitter.com/RBtKGXnNbg— Rosa Díez (@rosadiezglez) January 5, 2021
The shortage of birthday greetings hasn't kept Juan Carlos out of the media on his birthday, though. The latest affair involving the Bourbon patriarch is that, as El Confidencial published on Monday, he helped his nephew Bruno Gómez-Acebo to open a venture capital fund for Spanish investments in the United Arab Emirates, an operation that had not come to light until now.
The matter is clear thanks to a letter sent by Gómez-Acebo, son of Juan Carlos's late sister, Pilar de Borbó, in 2010 to thank his uncle for his interest in the operation and ask for some new favours. One of those favours, according to the letter, was to be able to have access to the top authorities in the Emirates.