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Felipe VI sworn in as the new King of Spain
Spain's King Felipe VI waves in the motorcade on his way from the Congress of Deputies. Photo: Rafa Rivas / AFP

Felipe VI sworn in as the new King of Spain

The Local/AFP · 19 Jun 2014, 08:53

Published: 19 Jun 2014 08:53 GMT+02:00

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Key points:

  • Felipe is sworn in as new king of Spain at Spanish parliament this morning
  • The prince officially took up the throne on Wednesday, when Juan Carlos' 39-year reign formally ended
  • Supreme court bans protests by republicans
  • 'Spaniards need to be proud of the country' Felipe tells parliament.

13:13 - Thanks for following

With Felipe busy entertaining 2,000 guests at a special reception, we are going to close the live blog. Thanks for following. Remember to share your view in the comments section below.

13.00- Felipe's reign begins

So that's it Felipe's reign is officially underway. He apparently spent the last few days working on his inaugral speech and the hardwork appears to have paid off. As he talked about the future, he reminded Spaniards that they are "a great country, a great nation". He told them to be proud of their new king. He may have won over a few hearts and minds with his words. He also stressed the need to make finding jobs for young spaniards a priority "for society and for the state". What Felipe can actually do about that issue is unclear, though. 

12:56 - Royal reception

Felipe now has to entertain around 2,000 special guests at the royal reception. Although it will marked by a lack of dignitaries from around the world. Britain's Queen Elizabeth apparently sent over a message of congratulations to Felipe on Wednesday. The lack of top dignitaries is in line with the mood of the day and in the SPanish monarchy, which since it was brought back in 1975 has purposefully been designed to be low-key.

12:52 - The balcony wave

Here's the shot fans of the Spanish royal family queued up for outside the Royal Palace.

12:48 - Don't wear purple

Apparently the police in central Madrid are taking a zero tolerance approach to anyone wearing purple. The Local's Alex Dunham has sent over this pic of police stopping a man wearing the traditional colour's of Spain's republican movement, as well as a woman carrying a republican flag.

12:35 The king salutes Madrid

And there he is. Felipe comes on to the balcony to salute the thousands gahered below. He's alone at first, then followed by Queen Letizia and their two daughters Leonor and Sofia. The former King Juan Carlos and former Queen Sofia are also on the balcony. The two kings shake hands, there's plenty of kissing and more waving.

The crowds below are happily waving Spanish flags and chanting the name of "Felipe".

12:33 - Standing room only

Spanish TV show images of the crowds that are have swelled around the palace. It looks packed and there's not much room left for those hoping to catch a glimpse of the new king waving from the balcony. A basque flag has been spotted among all the Spanish flags one. 

Telecinco TV reports that crowds still trying to get close to the palace, completely impossible as now packed. Surrounding areas full of people running trying to find way in. The Bells are tolling, signifying the imminent arrival of the royal family. 

12:30 - Photo from earlier

In case you missed it here's the key moment of the day when the new king was sworn in.

12:27 - King arrives at royal palace

Felipe has arrived at the Royal Palce, where he was greeted by the firing of canons. He's heading up to do the famous balcony wave,where he'll be joined by King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia who retain their titles, despite no longer being king and queen.

12:24 - You shall not pass

He's another shot from The Local's Alex Dunham of police in central Madrid stopping an anti-monarchy supporter from entering Puerta del Sol.

12:19 - He's a brave man

Republicans Carlos and Christina in central Madrid today, wearing the colours of Spain's republican movement.

12:12 - New king heads to Royal Palace

Felipe's wrists must be tiring now. He's swapping hands repeatedly, but he needs to save some energy for when he waves from the balcony at the Royal Palace, which he is approaching fast. Once he's there he he wil host a reception for around 2,000 guests. 

12:09 - Will Felipe have more decorum than his father? 

Former king Juan Carlos will now be able to sound off without worrying about causing too much controversy. In November 2007 Juan Carlos asked then Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez: "Why don't you shut up?" The king's outburst was apparently sparked by Chavez having described former Spanish prime minister Jose Maria Aznar as a "fascist" during an Ibero-American summit. Chavez demanded an apology.

12:04 - 'We're glad Spain lost'

The Local's Alex Dunham has managed to track down a couple of republican's who were hoping to protest in the centre of Madrid today, before authorities banned them. Alex says a middle aged woman with a republican flag has been barred from entering Puerta del Sol, where a demo had been planned.

And a couple of other anti-royals are quite happy Spain were booted out of the World cupo last night.

"We're glad spain lost yesterday, it would've been a tool by the Spanish government to get people to wave spanish flag" said two republican supporters Isabel and Carlos.

11:56 - New king greets the crowds

And the parade is underway. Felipe is standing up in their vintage car waving to the crowds, who applaud him and of course take as many photos as they can as a memory of the historic day. Letizia is sitting in the back of the car, letting her husband soak up all the attention, or perhaps she's had enough of standing up for one morning. Their daughters are not with them.

Their cavalcade continues its way through the Spanish capital. The king's car accompanied by a troop of cavalry. The king's wave is definitely more natural than the one used by Britain's queen. 

11:52 - No sign of republican demo...yet.

Our man out in Madrid has just popped up to Puerta de Sol, where a planned protest by republicans was due to take place. He has just sent over this: "Puerta del sol has been cordoned off, police cars and other vehicles occupy the majority of the square, probably to prevent any gathering."

We'll keep an eye on that. There may be a demo elswhere in the city.

11:49 - Interesting fact...

We've heard the Spanish national anthem played a couple of times already today and what you notice is that there's no singing. That's due to the fact that there's no lyrics to the "hymno". Spain's Olympic Committee revealed proposed new words for the anthem in January 2008 after holding a contest that lured 7,000 entries. But the lyrics, which included the phrase "Viva Espana" sparked fierce criticism, especially from the left, and had to be scrapped.

11:46 - Military parade underway

Felipe has left the parliament to warm applause and cheers from the crowds of royal fans outside. He has donned a peaked cap to top off his uniform as the military march past. 

11:40 - Photos

Here's one from our reporter on the streets Alex Dunham, who says the crowds are moderate by Spanish standards.

He's an image from earlier as Felipe's motorcade moved through Madrid on its way to parliament.

11:35 - Meanwhile up in Catalonia...

Our man in Barcelona Steve Tallantyre says Catalans analysing Felipe's speech are speculating that while it was predictable that he would stress unity, as he's the king of Spain, he had also stressed diversity and tolerance and pluraily and dialogue etc, all of which was probably directed at the current hardline Spanish government.

11:33 - 'I swear..."

Here's the full text of Felipe's oath.
"I swear to carry out my duties faithfully, to conserve and ensure the conservation of the Constitution and the law and to respect the rights of the citizens and regions."
11:30 - Crowds await king

King Felipe, Queen Letizia and their daughters are meeting politicians as they file past. A bit like when the bride and groom greet guests at a wedding. A huge crowd is gathered outside parliament waiting for Spain's new king to emerge. They might be waiting a while.

11:24 - Not everyone clapped

Apparently not everyone applauded Felipe for his speech. The heads of Basque country and Catalonia did not show the appreciation that other members of parliament did.
TV channels are now divulging his speech trying to analyse Felipe's words and the significance of what he said.

11:18 - 'Spaniards should be proud of their country'

Felipe finishes his speech with an impassioned plea to Spaniards to be proud oftheir 'great country'

"We have a great country. We are a great nation and we should have confidence in it," says."I am proud of the Spanish people and I hope that they are proud of their new King"

And then he takes a line from Don Quixote. "You're not greater than anyone else unless you do something greater than anyone else," says Felipe quoting Cervantes. A nice way to end it on. He then thanks everyone in all the national languages."  

He was certainly getting emotional at the end there. Felipe grew into that speech and it appears to have been appreciated by those in parliament, who gave him a warm round of applause.

11:13 - 'Cultures and traditions'

Felipe continues: 

"This Spain includes all feelings and sensitivities and different ways of feeling Spanish"

"This relationship between cultures and traditions has its best expression in our languages. Alongside Castellano, the other languages of Spain form part of our common heritage, which, as the constitute establishes, should be something worthy of special respect and protection"

11:08 - 'A nation is not just its history, it is an integration project'

Felipe is now talking about the state of the Spanish nation. "We all fit in a diverse Spain...", "A nation is not just its history, it is an integrating project", "The languages of Spain should be respected and protected." The camera shoots over to Artur Mas, Catalonia's top nationalist. "I promise that the reign of a constitutional king begins today," says Felipe before saying he will be seeking a "profound change of mentality and attitudes"

"The king must be at the service of the requirements of moral and ethical principles," says Felipe. 

11:03 - 'A message of hope for young people'


Felipe talks about the need to look to the future and send a message of hope to Spain's young people who are looking for jobs. "That is a priority for society and for the state," he says.  Felipe offers "solidarity to citizens who have suffered the blows of the crisis in recent years." 

"We want citizens to be the axis of political action," Felipe says. Talking about the Spanish monarchy he says: "my personal conviction is that parliamentary monarchy can and should continue to provide a fundamental service to Spain," adding: "The monarchy must look to be close to the people, and know how to keep winning its appreciation, respect and confidence."

11:01 - The crown that will not be worn

Here's the crown that's too heavy to wear.

10:56 - 'Reconciliation'

Felipe calls for "reconciliation" between Spaniards while "respecting plurality". He also says the king "must respect the separation of powers" between monarcy and the parliament. The new king is visibly quite emotional. His voiced has cracked a few times.

"10:52 - 'I give thanks and pay respect to my father'

Felipe is speaking to parliament. He gives thanks to his father Juan Carlos and then his mother for donating her "whole life of impeccable service to the people of Spain"

10:51 - And that's that, Spain has a new king!

That was done without much fuss. The proclamation is over and Spain has a new king.

10:48 - 'We wish you a happy reign'

Head of congress Jesus Posada ends his speech by wishing "King Felipe a happy reign." That's followed by round applause, chants of "Long live Spain". And now for the swearing in...

10:41 - And we are underway

The king and queen enter parliament to warm applause. The head of congress opens proceeedings by giving a short speech. "Spain is undergoing an unprecedented change," Jesus Posada says. "Today Spain is facing new problems, notably the economic crisis," says Posada. He then goes on to commend the solidity of Spain's democracy and tells the new king: "Your reign will be a brilliant period of progress for Spain"

10:37 - Meet and greet

Felipe is about to enter the chamber to swear fealty to the constitution, a tradition dating to 1812 according to La Sexta channel. With some interruptions, presumably. PM Mariano Rajoy, dressed smartly in a tailcoat is accompanying Letizia and the two Infantas. Felipe and his family are doing the usual meet and greet with parliamentary officials and ministers.

10:32 - Catalan presence

Chief Catalonian nationalist Artur Mas is waiting in parliament for the new king. Mas wasn't there yesterday but has attended events today apparently. He was criticized for this by some Catalan indepence supporters but other countered that it was right to attend the ceremony of a valued neighbour and that he'd be going even if Catalonia was independent

(Photo: Dani Pozo/AFP)

10:28 - King Felipe salutes

Felipe VI marches past various military personnel, saluting as he walks past accompanied by the sound of a marching band.

10:26:  - 'Viva el rey!"

The crowd of spectators shout viva el rey! as King Felipe VI is driven down Gran Via. He's arrived at the Spanish parliament where he steps out of the Rolls Royce, with Letizia and his two daughters Leonor and Sofia.

10:22 - Politicians await new king 

The king's motorcade is making good headway across Madrid. It would have been different ofcourse if they hadn't blocked the traffic. Meanwhile Politicians and, for some reason, basketball player Pau Gasol are waiting impatiently inside parliament, taking photos of each other on their phones and looking fairly bored.

10:19 - "Felipe is a great ambassador"

More reaction from the streets of Madrid where our reporter Alex Dunham is sampling the mood:

"Felipe is a better ambassador to Spain than any of our politicians, especially because he speaks perfect English," says Jesús.

"Every family has a black sheep," says Germán, a young supporter of the King Juan Carlos, referring to Infanta Cristina, who is in hot water over corruption allegations. "She must stand trial and go to prison if found guilty. But Felipe has done nothing wrong and been preparing to be king for 46 years."

10:15 - Royal fans out in force

You wouldn't expect to see so many Spanish flags in Madrid, the day after Spain were knocked out of the World Cup, but plenty of people have come out to support the royals. Chants of "Viva Espana" have been heard on the mainGran Via.

10:13 - Blanket coverage

As might be expected, blanket coverage of the events taking place on nearly every major TV channel in Spain. Anyone not interested is restricted to cartoons on the kids' channels or a documentary on rural allotment keeping on state broadcaster's La 2.

10:10 - 'She'll have to smile more'

King Felipe and Queen Letizia are currently in a Rolls Royce heading to congress. The future king took a nice deep breath when he got inside the Rolls before Letizia gave him a pinch on the cheek.

One commentator on La Sexta channel saying that Letizia will have to smile more if she wants to connect with her people because she comes across as cold.

The RollsRoyce is on its way surrounded by phalanx of police motorbikes.

10:07 - A view from Catalonia

Our reporter up in Catalonia Steve Tallantyre notes that Catalan TV is commenting on the fact that Republican flags have been banned from Madrid's streets today. Anyone found with one will be arrested under laws designed to stop football hooliganism.

10:05 - Map of parade route

In case you are in Madrid today and fancy catching a glimpse of the new king and queen, here's the route of their parade from El Pais, which has plenty of other interesting graphics of the day.

10:00 - 1,000 journalists in town

Story continues below…

There's plenty of interest from around the world in the proclamation of the new Spanish king with around 1,000 journalists in Madrid today covering the historic events. One of them is The Local's Alex Dunham, who has just sent over this photo of some smartly dressed navy men. Or are they a bunch of Brits on a stag night?

09:55 - Handing over the sash

The new king Felipe VI is receiving the sash from his father marking the transfer of military command. Politicians are currently arriving at parliament by bus. TV is reporting the unseen snipers and visible heavy police presence, backed by three overhead helicopters. The new king and queen will travel in a state-owned vintage Rolls Royce decorated with the new royal crest through the streets of Madrid.

09:54 - Intersting fact

Spain's crown is actually too heavy to wear. Made in 1775 in Madrid of gold-plated silver and red velvet, it weighs around a kilogramme and is not actually designed to be worn. Instead it will be displayed - along with a sceptre - as a symbol or royal power. The same two objects were displayed at King Juan Carlos's enthronment in 1975 apparently. That's why it's not a coronation today.

09:51 - Missing sister

One of the new king's sisters, la Infanta Elena, is in the room with the future Queen Letizia and their children but there is no sign of his other sister, la Infanta Cristina, currently embroiled in a corruption scandal.

Our reporter Alex Dunham has just spoken to one staunch royal fan, Ines, aged 60, who said: "I can't forgive the Infanta Cristina and her husband for what they did,but that shouldn't mean Spain's monarchy should step down.I'm proud to be Spanish!" 

09:49 - Relevance of monarchy

State broadcaster La1 has stuck to reverential descriptions of the new and former king and the institution while showing the events taking place. Catalan TV3 has devoted much of the morning to a studio discussion on the relevance of monarchy in the 21st century. Let us know your views in the comments section below?

09:46 - Will Juan Carlos be granted immunity?

Today would appear to be the only day that Juan Carlos doesn't have legal immunity from prosecution. As king he was immune. The government is rushing a bill through tomorrow to give him immunity as ex-king, and using legal jiggery pokery to stop charges being filed against him today. What those charges consist of, is anyone's guess, but there has been lots of speculation.

09:40 - Here we go

Felipe is lining up with generals and shaking hands with various military officials. The future king greeted his family then formally met Spain's senior military officials as new head of the Armed Forces while military bands march past outside. 

09:38 - This is not a coronation!

Just a technical note to clear up here. Felipe will not actually be crowned king today because the crown will not actually be placed on his head. Today's ceremony is being described as an "enthronement" a "swearing in" or a "proclamation". According to Wikipedia, the last monarch to be crowned in Spain was actually Eleanor of Navarre (1479). So there you go.

09:35 - See Juan Carlos officially sign off

Just in case you missed it, Felipe's dad, Juan Carlos officically signed off as king of Spain on Wednesday night, with a gold pen. You can watch a clip of the ceremony in the video below. There were definitely tears in his eyes as he stepped down after 39 years on the throne.

09:33 - Send your wishes to the new king

Just in case anyone wanted to, you can send your good wishes to Spain's new king by clicking here. 

09:28 - Crowds gathering Madrid

Our reporter Alex Dunham has sent in this photo from Madrid. Fans of the royals are gathering along the route Felipe will travel later on this morning as part of his parade through the streets.

09:17 - Felipe's to-do list

Normally a monarch taking over a throne these days can look forward to a fairly easy workload - a few state visits, official dinners, plenty of handshaking and all the usual protocol. Not Felipe, however. The new king of Spain actually has a farly lengthy and tasking list of things to do in Spain. Not least soothing a country stricken by recession. And some are calling on him to unify Spain as the Catalonia region seeks independence.

Here's more on what Felipe needs to achieve as King.

09:14 - Interesting fact

Today's enthronement will be the first time that any Spanish king has passed on the crown to one of his offspring since 1885.

09:06 - Protests banned

Any Spanish republicans wanting to vent their anger atthe royal family today will have to do it at home in front of the television. Last night the Supreme Court banned any official protests on Thursday. And with Spain's riot police having a zero tolerance approach towards protesters, we can expect some nasty clashes if any anti-royals do turn up. Alex Dunham our reporter out on the streets in Madrid is on the look-out for any republican flags, but says he hasn't spotted any yet.

08:49 - Low key coronation

Given the Spain is going through some hard times, Felipe's enthronement is being tailored to suit the mood and the budget. Don't expect gold plated horse drawn carriages or hordes of foreign dignitaries or any real pomp at all.  

08:40 - Madrid awaits new king

Morning all. Welcome to the live coverage of King Felipe's coronation. Let's face it, the mood in Spain is hardly likely to be upbeat for his big day. With Spain having been ruthlessly dumped out of the World Cup by Chile last night, Spaniards can be forgiven if they are not exactly in good spirits today and certainly won't feel like being patriotic. 

Felipe, despite a big football fan himself, won't want to let the Spanish football team ruin his big day however. By lunch time he will officially have been sworn in as the new King of Spain, replacing his father Juan Carlos, who stepped down after 39 years in the hot seat, presumably so he can spend more time hunting.

We'll have all the action live from Madrid, where our reporter Alex Dunham is out on the streets sampling the mood of Madrilenos.

The Local/AFP (news@thelocal.es)

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