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Are Infantas Elena and Cristina travelling to Abu Dhabi for King Juan Carlos’ birthday?


While over the past few weeks speculation was set on King Juan Carlos I of Spain spending the Christmas season and his birthday in Spain, it seems like plans may have changed. 

Spanish magazine Semana reports that Infantas Elena and Cristina, the two daughters of King Juan Carlos and sisters of the current King Felipe, have made plans to travel to Abu Dhabi, where their father has been living since August of 2020, to spend his birthday with him. 

While the two daughters have supported the idea of their father returning to Spain, it seems likely that any move by Juan Carlos to the country will not take place until the Fiscal Tribunal in Spain has concluded all of its investigations into the former monarch. The investigations and the interest in them are among the reasons he decided to leave the country he ruled for over 39 years. 

King Juan Carlos has had a quiet Christmas after he was identified as a close contact of tennis player Rafael Nadal who tested positive for coronavirus soon after the pair met up at the Abu Dhabi tournament. Juan Carlos had to isolate and take several tests, which, so far, have all come back negative. Rafael Nadal announced that he had tested positive for Covid-19 only two days after having dinner with the former Spanish Sovereign. 

The King will be out of isolation just in time for his birthday, which falls on the 5th of January, according to United Arab Emirates rules for isolation following a close contact with a positive person. 

The ongoing controversy around King Juan Carlos continues to make headlines. In his Christmas speech, King Felipe said: “…us,as institutions, have the biggest responsibility. We always have to keep in mind the general interest, and think about the citizens, their troubles, their worries, always be at their service and take care of their issues. We have to be in the place that constitutionally belongs to us; take up, each and everyone of us, the duties that we are given; respect and oblige the law and be an example of public and moral integrity”.

These words, combined with previous declarations, highlighted that he does not seem to want to get involved in any of the legal fights that members of his family are or were going through, and that, despite being the symbolic chief of the Judicial power, he will not get involved in legal decisions regarding his family, because he trusts the justice system to do its job. 

So it seems reasonable to assume that, while Infantas Elena and Cristina will make the trip to Abu Dhabi to spend his 84th birthday with King Juan Carlos, King Felipe and his family will not be a part of the group. 

There is also the issue of Princess Leonor having to travel back to Wales on that same day to resume school, and King Felipe and Queen Letizia having to be in Madrid on the 6th for the traditional Pascua Militar ceremony, which generally restarts their agenda in the New Year.