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Felipe VI (born 30 January 1968) is the King of Spain. He ascended to the throne on 19 June 2014 following the abdication of his father, King Juan Carlos I. As heir apparent to the throne, he previously bore the title of Prince of Asturias, and worked to support philanthropic causes and to promote international fellowship among Spanish-speaking countries.

In accordance with the Spanish Constitution, as monarch, he is head of state and commander-in-chief of the Spanish Armed Forces, and also plays a role in promoting relations with Hispanic America, the “nations of its historical community”. He is married to Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano, with whom he has two daughters, Leonor and Sofía. Leonor, the elder, is his heir presumptive.

On 2 June 2014, King Juan Carlos announced his intent to abdicate in Felipe’s favour. Since the Constitution of Spain did not provide a specific mechanism for abdication and royal succession, the Spanish Cabinet began deliberations on an organic law to regulate Felipe’s succession on 3 June. The law had to be passed by a majority of all members of the Congress of Deputies, the lower house of the Cortes Generales (Parliament). According to Jesús Posada, the President of the Congress of Deputies, Felipe could have been proclaimed king as early as 18 June. On 4 June, El País of Madrid reported that Felipe would indeed be proclaimed king on 18 June.

Felipe ascended the throne at the stroke of midnight on 19 June; his father had signed the formal instrument of abdication just hours earlier.The next morning, after receiving the general’s sash from his father, he was formally enthroned in a low-key ceremony held in the Cortes. He swore to uphold the Constitution before formally being proclaimed king by Posada. Upon his accession, he became the youngest monarch in Europe, being nine months younger than King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands.

As king, Felipe has fairly extensive reserve powers on paper. He is the guardian of the Constitution, responsible for ensuring it is obeyed. While he is nominally chief executive, it is expected that he will follow his father’s practice of taking a mostly ceremonial and representative role, acting largely on the advice of the government. He indicated as much in a speech to the Cortes on the day of his enthronement, saying that he would be “a loyal head of state who is ready to listen and understand, warn and advise as well as to defend the public interest at all times”.A poll conducted by El País, however, indicates that a majority of Spaniards wish that Felipe play a greater role in politics, with 75% of the 600 surveyed people stating that they would approve if he personally pushed the political parties to reach agreements on national problems. According to an El Mundo newspaper poll, Felipe had a greater approval than his father prior to his reign.

 

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