Saturday 27 December 2014

-Spanish Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia to become King and Queen

Published 02/06/2014 | 10:02

Crown Prince Felipe and his wife Princess Letizia will become King and Queen of Spain.

The couple will ascend to the throne following the announcement earlier today that King Juan Carlos is to abdicate.

The announcement was made by the Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy  who said an amendment will be made to the constitution to allow the abdication take place.

Juan Carlos (76) has battled ill health for some time and his son has stepped into his role for official functions.

The King and Queen Sofia have three children together – Felipe, and older daughters Elena and Cristina.

However, the Spanish royal family has been hit by a number of scandals in recent years.

Prince Felipe with his wife, Princess Letizia
Prince Felipe with his wife, Princess Letizia
In this handout photo provided by the Royal Press Department, Princess Letizia of Spain, Prince Felipe of Spain and their children, Princesses Leonor and Sofia pose at Zarzuela Palace on September 15, 2012 in Madrid, Spain. Princess Letizia of Spain celebrates her 40th birthday today. (Photo by Cristina García Rodero/Royal Press Department via Getty Images)
Spain's Crown Prince Felipe de Bourbon walks next to his bride Letizia Ortiz during their wedding ceremony in Almudena cathedral May 22, 2004 in Madrid. (Photo by Gustavo Cuevas/Pool/Getty Images)
Spanish King Juan Carlos (L), and Queen Sofia wave as they appear on the balcony of the royal palace after the wedding ceremony of Crown Prince Feleipe de Bourbon and Letizia Ortiz May 22, 2004 in Madrid. (Photo by Ian Waldie/Getty Images)
A general view inside the Almudena cathedral where the wedding ceremony takes place between Spanish Crown Prince Felipe de Bourbon and former journalist Letizia Ortiz on May 22, 2004 in Madrid. (Photo by Angel Diaz/POOL/Getty Images)
King Juan Carlos of Spain and Queen Sofia of Spain attend the Agencia EFE 75th anniversary exhibition during the "Rey de Espana" and "Don Quijote" journalism awards 2014 at "Casa del Libro" on May 27, 2014 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images)
Prince Felipe of Spain receives Asociacion Mensajeros de la Paz at Zarzuela Palace on December 14, 2012 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Juan Naharro Gimenez/Getty Images)
Princess Letizia of Spain is to receive a fixed salary
(L-R) Prince Albert II of Monaco and Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark sit behind Queen Sofia (2nd R) of Spain, Prince Felipe of Spain and Crown Princess Letizia of Spain during the Men's Basketball gold medal game between the United States and Spain on Day 16 of the London 2012 Olympics Games at North Greenwich Arena on August 12, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)
King Juan Carlos of Spain is discharged from hospital after undergoing hip replacement surgery, after fracturing his hip on a recent trip to Botswana, on April 18, 2012 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Paco Campos/EFE - Pool/Getty Images)
Infanta Cristina and husband Inaki Urdangarin, above, have faced legal cases
REGAL AIR: Rumours surround the relationship of Queen Sofia and King Juan Carlos
There have been calls for the King, pictured here with Infanta Elena, to abdicate in favour of Prince Felipe
Spain's Crown Prince Felipe and his wife Princess Letizia at the Principe de Asturias Awards 2013 in Oviedo yesterday.
Spain's Crown Prince Felipe, left, and Princess Letizia, second left, shovel earth with the US Ambassador to Spain Alan Solomont and his wife in Madrid (AP)
Princess Letizia and Prince Felipe console family members of the victims of the earthquake in Lorca, Spain (AP)
LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 29: (L-R) Queen Sofia of Spain, Prince Felipe of Spain and Princess Letizia of Spain arrive to attend the Royal Wedding of Prince William to Catherine Middleton at Westminster Abbey on April 29, 2011 in London, England. The marriage of the second in line to the British throne is to be led by the Archbishop of Canterbury and will be attended by 1900 guests, including foreign Royal family members and heads of state. Thousands of well-wishers from around the world have also flocked to London to witness the spectacle and pageantry of the Royal Wedding. (Photo by Ian Gavan/GP/Getty Images)
Carla Bruni-Sarkozy (front) and Princess Letizia of Spain
Carla Bruni-Sarkozy and Spain's Princess Letizia, who is described as one of Carla's chief fashion rivals on Carla's website. Photo: Pedro Aremestre/AFP/Getty Images

Cristina has been excluded from official acts since December 2011, when her her husband, Inaki Urdangarin was named as an official suspect in a wide-reaching corruption scandal.

She appeared before a judge in Majorca in February over money laundering and tax evasion allegations linking her to the business affairs of her husband. During the court appearance, which lasted several hours, she was accused of being ‘evasive’ during questioning.

Spain is in the grip of a deep recession – with many criticising the spending of the Bourbon household.

Earlier this year, spending by the royal family was cut to €7.78m – down from €9.4m five years ago.

King Juan Carlos received a salary of €140,000, plus a further €150,000 to cover “cost of representation”.

His son received an amount equalling half his father’s salary and expenses.

In 2013, to further quell public anger in a country where unemployment rose to 27pc, Juan Carlos renounced use of his €21m yacht.

Juan Carlos, 76, oversaw his country's transition from dictatorship to democracy but has had repeated health problems in recent years.

His popularity also dipped following royal scandals, including an elephant-shooting trip he took in the middle of Spain's financial crisis that tarnished his image.

The king came to power in 1975, two days after the death of long-time dictator Francisco Franco.

He is the second European monarch to abdicate in just over a year. In April last year, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands handed the throne to her son Prince Willem-Alexander after 33 years.

Mr Rajoy broke the news in an announcement broadcast nationwide.

He did not say when Juan Carlos would abdicate because the government must now craft a law creating a legal mechanism for the abdication and for 46-year-old Felipe's assumption of power.

The king endeared himself to many Spaniards by putting down an attempted military coup in 1981 when he was a young and largely untested head of state.

As Spain's new democracy matured over the years, the king played a largely figurehead role, travelling the globe as an ambassador for the country, and was a stabilising force in a country with restive, independence-minded regions such as the Basque region and Catalonia.

But his image was tarnished by the elephant shoot and also by the investigation of his son-in law, who is suspected of embezzling large amounts in public contracts.

Irish Independent

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