Prince Promises To Lead United And Diverse Spain

Prince Felipe, soon to be proclaimed King of Spain, pledged today to use all his strength to serve the nation, which he called “politically united and diverse with deep historical roots.”

Prince Felipe spoke at the Prince of Viana awards ceremony in Navarra today in the wake of his father’s abdication announcement.

© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos
Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia will be proclaimed King and Queen later this month. © Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos

Members of the Royal Family have been pressing unity amid pro-independence rumblings in Catalonia. They hope a change at the top will defuse some of the recent political tension.

Other than being Prince of Asturias, Prince Felipe is also Prince of Viana and Prince of Girona, among a series of titles reserved for the heir to the Spanish throne.

Those titles were several hundred years ago reserved for the heirs to the different realms that now make up Spain.

Today King Juan Carlos got standing ovations from a group of business leaders during a meeting at El Pardo Palace.

© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos
© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos

Crowds also cheered Don Juan Carlos during what may be the last bullfight of his reign.

© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos
© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos

King, Prince Make Joint Appearance After Abdication News

King Juan Carlos and Prince Felipe made a joint appearance today after the King’s abdication announcement yesterday.

Don Juan Carlos and Don Felipe presided over a military ceremony at El Escorial palace complex in the outskirts of Madrid.

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Prince Felipe, who was recently in El Salvador for the new president’s swearing-in, is expected to be proclaimed King by the Cortes Generales later this month.

Today Queen Sofia, who was having meetings at the United Nations in New York, when asked about her husband’s abdication said things would continue as usual after the transfer of power.

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Of course, there will be major changes.

Media reports indicate that Infanta Elena and Infanta Cristina will no longer be members of the Royal Family as they are now.

They will instead be part of the King’s Family and keep their titles of nobility.

King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia will remain part of the Royal Family as former Monarchs, but Don Juan Carlos will lose his legal inviolability.

King To Abdicate (With Updates)

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy announced this morning that King Juan Carlos, who has been Spain’s Head of State for 39 years and helped restore Democracy to the country, will abdicate.

Don Juan Carlos had talked down the possibility of abdicating in recent years, but now says he made his decision during his 76th birthday earlier this year.

The King said in a message to the nation it was important to recognize the influence of “a younger generation, with new energies.” He said Prince Felipe, who will soon be proclaimed King, represents “stability.”

The King’s abdication is the latest in a string of European Monarchs stepping down. But it also comes amid ongoing economic and political troubles.

King Juan Carlos speaking at Zarzuela Palace.
King Juan Carlos speaking at Zarzuela Palace.

Prince Felipe, and his wife Letizia, the soon-to-be Queen Consort, will have to promote Spanish unity amid pro-independence rumblings in Catalonia and the Basque Country.

Abdication letter.
Abdication letter.

Prince Felipe will be proclaimed (not crowned) King soon. The action has to be ratified by the Cortes as the Constitution requires for abdications.

Spain's future King and Queen.
Spain’s future King and Queen.

Updates

-King Juan Carlos’ abdication announcement drew praise for the Monarch’s work from conservative Popular Party and Socialist Party leaders. United Left, however, called for a referendum on the Monarchy.

-Catalan President Artur Mas said change at the top of Spanish politics would not stop his push for a referendum on independence.

-Several thousand people hit the streets in Madrid and Barcelona to call for a referendum on whether to keep the Monarchy.

-The Spanish government will introduce legislation this week to begin the process of ratifying the abdication and welcoming Prince Felipe as the new King. Debate will follow in the Cortes.

-Prince Felipe’s proclamation as King could begin, media reports indicate, as soon as the 16th of this month.

-Details remain to be worked out, including the future legal standing of Don Juan Carlos, who is currently considered “inviolable.”

-The Royal Household released a timeline with images of important events in the future King’s life, including swearing allegiance to the Constitution in 1986.

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