Prince Felipe became King of Spain at midnight Spanish time.
This morning, as planned, King Juan Carlos held a small ceremony at Zarzuela Palace to symbolically hand-over command of the armed forces.
King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia, along with their young daughters Princess Leonor of Asturias and Infanta Sofia, then headed over to the Congress Palace.
Also there were Queen Sofia, Infanta Elena and other members of the King’s Family. King Juan Carlos did not attend the proclamation to not overshadow his son.
The King swore to uphold the Spanish constitution, spoke in favor of human rights and democracy, and offered a strong defense of the Monarchy.
“The independence of the Crown, its political neutrality and its search for unity amid ideological differences, allow it to contribute to the stability of our political system,” the King said.
The King also alluded to ongoing nationalist and separatist rumblings in certain communities. “Unity is not uniformity,” he said, in an effort to honor Spain’s diversity.
“In a Spain that is united and diverse, based on the equality of all Spaniards, and the solidarity among its different communities and respect for the rule of law, we all fit,” said the new King.
Don Felipe said improving Spain’s economic situation was paramount, and stressed the need for Spain to be a leader in promoting a strong and united Europe.
King Felipe then proceeded in open car to the Madrid Royal Palace. Crowds gathered along the way.
U.S. President Barack Obama released a statement of congratulations this morning.
“I look forward to working closely with King Felipe VI and continuing to strengthen this bond in the years to come. As Spain celebrates this transition and looks ahead to the future, the American people celebrate along with the people of Spain,” he said.
King Felipe is adopting a Royal Standard slightly different from his father’s. It lacks the Cross of Burgundy and the background is maroon.