Felipe takes over as new king of Spain

Juan Carlos and Felipe hug at Royal Palace in Madrid (18 June) Juan Carlos and his son hugged after the king had signed the law on his abdication

Related Stories

Felipe VI of Spain has acceded to the throne, following the abdication of his father Juan Carlos.

The retiring king helped introduce democracy after the death of dictator Gen Franco in 1975, but recently his reputation has been damaged by scandal.

At midnight (22:00 GMT) he handed over to his son, who will formally swear an oath in parliament later on Thursday.

Correspondents say ceremonies will be kept low key, at a time when many in Spain are suffering economic hardship.

The ceremony will take the form of a proclamation rather than a coronation. It will be the first royal transition in Spain since democracy was restored.

The new king will be proclaimed after promising to uphold the constitution and giving a speech to parliament.

He and his wife Letizia will then be driven through Madrid's streets before appearing on the front balcony of the Royal Palace.

King Juan Carlos signed the bill formally to remove himself from power

Correspondents say the new king faces a series of tough challenges if he is to restore the reputation of the monarchy.

Although Juan Carlos won plaudits for his role in restoring democracy, his image suffered when he went on the luxurious African elephant-hunting safari in the midst of a recession.

His reputation suffered further damage because of tax fraud allegations made against his daughter, Cristina, who is reported not to have been invited to the succession party.

At the same time many Spaniards are demanding a referendum on whether to have a monarchy at all - a demonstration is scheduled to take place in central Madrid on the same day as the enthronement, despite a ban imposed by authorities.

The BBC's Chris Morris in Madrid says Felipe will face the dual challenge of trying to rehabilitate the monarchy and trying to unify a country in which a vocal minority favour republicanism.

The succession has been endorsed by both of Spain's main political parties.

More on This Story

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Europe stories

RSS

Features

  • Shinji Mikamo's father's watchTime peace

    The story of the watch that survived Hiroshima


  • Northern League supporters at the party's annual meeting in 2011Padania?

    Eight places in Europe that also want independence


  • Elephant Diaries - BBCGoing wild

    Wildlife film-makers reveal the tricks of the trade


  • Hamas rally in the West Bank village of Yatta, 2006Hamas hopes

    Why the Palestinian group won't back down yet


  • A woman dining aloneTable for one

    The restaurants that love solo diners


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.