Spain’s crown prince was proclaimed King Felipe VI Thursday, succeeding his high-living father in a low-key ceremony designed for a country still facing economic hardship and divided over the monarchy.
The 46-year-old king, wearing a blue military uniform, swore an oath of loyalty to Spain’s constitution before a joint session of parliament. The new ceremonial head of state then addressed the country’s political leadership and a national television audience. King Juan Carlos left the trone to his son at 11am and abdicated, after many hard years with criticism and crisis in Spain.
Thousands of people went out on the streets for celebrating and having a look at the new king winking from the royal platform at Palacio Real, Madrid, and sent greetings with his wife, Leticia Ortiz. Red and yellow flowers, the colors of Spain’s flag, adorned the streets along the route where Felipe and the new queen were chauffeured in a black Rolls Royce.
Ater the TV coverage the Royal Family invited 2000 elite guests for dinner and further celebration for the rest of the afternoon and evening.
In his 26 minutes long speech he said: “There is room for all of us in this united and diverse Spain,” he said at one point, before ending with thanks in Catalan, Basque, Galician and Spanish, the country’s four official languages. King Felipe VI wants to modernize the monarchy and makes it better.
Leaders of all 17 regional governments were present. But Catalonia’s president, Artur Mas, didn’t join in applauding the new king.