King Juan Carlos of Spain officially abdicates his post for his heir newly-proclaimed King Felipe VI after his four-decade reign. With tears in his eyes, the former king sealed his abdication by signing the act of parliament ending his reign with a golden pen on Wednesday, at a ceremony in Madrid's Royal Palace.
Cannons fired a salute and people shouting "Long Live the King" rang out as the royal family arrived by car before the ceremony. Thousands of red and yellow Spanish flags decorated with white flowers are scattered around Madrid to hail the soon-to-be-king, while shops around the country took the opportunity to sell T-shirts and fridge magnets to honor the new generation of royals.
The two royals shared a historical embrace under the palace's chandeliers as it marked the first royal succession in Spain's post-Franco history. New King Felipe VI and the country's future queen Letizia and Juan Carlos' wife Queen Sofia applauded Juan Carlos as the band struck up the national anthem.
Bringing a fresh face to the Spanish monarchy, the 46-year-old monarch coronation is a no-frills ceremony without a formal coronation rite. The event doesn't even have foreign royals or head of state to witness the occasion.
"I have great hope for the future of Spain ... a nation whose destiny has been intertwined with my destiny since I was born," Felipe addressed those who assembled in the old palace in western Madrid. The 76-year-old royal spoke of a "united and diverse" Spain and close his speech by saying "thank you" in Spain's four regional languages: Castilian Spanish, Catalan, Basque and Galician.
The no-fuss ceremony was followed by a parade with the royal family riding down Madrid's Gran Via to the Royal Palace, about a mile from the parliament building. Riding a convertible black Rolls Royce, the united three generations of royals waved to supporters who are celebrating with the country.
A former television news presenter, the 41-year-old future queen of Spain is a granddaughter of taxi driver. The royal couple have two daughters: Sofia, seven, and Leonor, eight, the youngest heiress to the throne in Europe.