Prince Felipe has acceded to the Spanish throne after the abdication of his father, King Juan Carlos, came into effect. Felipe, who is now HM King Felipe VI of Spain, comes to the Spanish throne just over two weeks after the announcement was made that the 76-year-old Spanish Monarch was to step down.
The abdication of Juan Carlos comes during a period of other notable abdications of Monarchs both in Europe and around the world including in 2013 in the Netherlands and Belgium and also the abdication of the Emir of Qatar and the resignation of the Pope.
Juan Carlos’s 38-year reign is regarded as successful in the eyes of many Spaniards, though public opinion – whilst improving – remains ambivalent towards the institution of Monarchy in Spain.
Earlier this evening, King Juan Carlos attended an abdication ceremony in the Hall of Columns at the Royal Palace in Madrid where he signed the law effecting his abdication.
The law, which went on Spain’s official state bulletin, was effected at midnight Spanish time making Felipe King of Spain.
King Felipe’s wife becomes HM Queen Letizia of Spain and their eldest daughter, Infanta Leonor, becomes heiress presumptive to the throne with the title of Princess of Asturias. Juan Carlos and his wife Queen Sofia retain their titles King and Queen.
Tomorrow morning, Felipe will attend a proclamation before the Spanish Parliament in a ceremony that will be attended by the around 700 members of Spain’s lower house and Senate, the Cabinet and more than 100 special guests, though no foreign royals or representatives from other nations will be present at the ceremony.
Juan Carlos won’t be attending the proclamation ceremony but the new King’s family and Queen Sofia (Juan Carlos’s consort) will be present.
No Spanish Monarch has attended a ‘coronation’ for centuries, Juan Carlos was enthroned when he became king but was never crowned. Felipe’s ceremony will be even more straight-forward and will focus mainly around the abdication and accession (with the text of the abdication document being read out).
The Spanish abdication sees Europe’s youngest Monarch, King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, knocked to second place by Felipe who is aged 46 (Willem-Alexander being 47).
Sources say there are plans for King Felipe and Queen Letizia to make overseas visits in the near future as part of Felipe’s introduction in European countries as Spain’s new Head of State.