10 JANUARY 2008

After marking turning 70 with an intimate family celebration at home on January 5 there was something rather more grand in store for Spain's King Juan Carlos on Wednesday. The monarch raised a celebratory glass surrounded by 450 high profile guests in the lavish surroundings of the Pardo Palace, just outside the capital.

Once arrivals had taken their seats for dinner the monarch, who has been Spain's head of state for 32 years, spoke of his "pride at all we have achieved together". He went on to affirm his intention to approach his role with the same passion and commitment in the future.

The king's son, Crown Prince Felipe, who is also approaching a landmark birthday - his 40th - on January 30, said a few words at the celebration, too. Paying tribute to his father he praised the royal patriarch's "spark" and "sense of humour".

Also at the king's side at the bash were his daughters Cristina and Elena - who attended solo after separating from husband Jaime Marichalar last November - and his daughter-in-law, Crown Princess Letizia, showing off a flattering, recently cropped hairstyle.

Photo: ©
The Spanish monarch marked his landmark birthday by joining 450 high-profile guests at a gala dinner at a palace just outside the capitalPhoto: © Rex
Photo: ©
Looking on as Juan Carlos spoke of his "renewed determination to continue working as king" was his elegant daughter-in-law Crown Princess LetiziaPhoto: © Rex