King Felipe VI will be crowned, following his father’s sudden abdication, announced on Monday, but who is the man that will lead Spain into the 21st Century and beyond?
After the country recovered from the shocking news, it was announced that King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia’s first born will be crowned King Felipe VI within the month.
Juan Carlos ruled for 30-years following the tumultuous times of dictator Francisco Franco, so Felipe VI’s coronation will be the first one Spain has seen since his father’s in 1975 and he is the first Spanish monarch to directly inherit the crown in centuries.
— ITV News (@itvnews) June 3, 2014
Felipe Juan Pablo Alfonso de Todos los Santos de Borbón y de Grecia, who will take the title of King Felipe VI on June 18, according to the Spanish press, is 46-years-old, and married to former CNN personality Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano. The couple has two daughters, the infantas Leonor — who becomes second in line to the throne — and Sofia.
To the surprise of many, the royal couple announced their engagement on November 1, 2003, following news of Felipe’s serious relationship with the commoner, who Spaniards accepted despite her being a divorcee.
Felipe and Leitizia were married on May 22, 2004 in a ceremony that was followed by 25 million viewers in Spain and many more around the globe.
Prior to getting married the future King, Felipe VI was followed by the paparazzi during his outings around town — as is the case with many young royals — and his name was linked to several very eligible women including noble Isabel Sartorius — who was not approved by Juan Carlos and Sofia due to her mother’s drug problems — and the Norwegian underwear model Eva Sannum.
As he assumes his new role, Felipe VI is seen as the hope to unite a country that has been severely affected by the worldwide financial crisis and high unemployment in recent years.
Hours after Juan Carlos I announced his abdication, thousands of anti-monarchy protesters took to the streets ahead of the coronation of Felipe VI, to ask for the abolition of the monarchy.
— IBTimes UK (@IBTimesUK) June 2, 2014
“Tomorrow, Spain will be a republic!” the demonstrators chanted and held signs that read “No more kings, a referendum,” “A royal transition… without a king,” and “Bourbons up for election.”
The 1978 Spanish constitution was established with a majority support of the monarchy, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said, when asked about the protests.
Felipe VI will be crowned at a time of great dissatisfaction, not only with the royals, but the economic and social problems in all of Spain and his first task will be to try to work with all sides.
[Image via Twitter]