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Spain’s new King Felipe VI faces challenges as he takes the Crown

Madrid, June 19 (): Felipe VI was officially declared the Spain’s new king on Thursday, after his father, Juan Carlos abdicated. Dressed in military uniform and flanked by his wife and two daughters, the new king promised to head a changed monarchy “for new times”, in an address before the packed parliamentary chamber and the millions watching nationwide.

He told, “We have a great country, we are a great nation — let us trust in it”. The new King thanked his mother, Queen Sofia, for her lifetime hard work and dedication to the people of Span.

Felipe promised to do his duties, be faithful to his country and work for Spain’s interests. He said he would honour the oath and the pledge he had taken. The head of state must be an example of transparent and honest behaviour, he said, possibly a reproduction of the gossips that have affected the kingdom in recent periods.

Felipe also spoke of the requirements for his people, at the time of difficulty. He said, “look ahead to the Spain we are building together as I begin this reign.” This meant modernizing to meet the challenges of a globalized world.

The swearing-in ceremony was a quieter affair, without the spectacle of elaborate ceremonies and foreign dignitaries. But there was a large crowds at the palace in confidence of seeing the new king – Felipe, his wife – Queen Letizia and their daughters emerging onto the balcony, along with Juan Carlos and Sofia, to salute the Spanish people.

His father, Juan Carlos’s 39-year rule came to a close on midnight Wednesday. The long-time leader signed his resignation into law at the Royal Palace in Madrid, making his son the new king.

Juan Carlos has said Felipe, a former Olympic yachtsman, has “the maturity, the preparation and the sense of responsibility necessary” to serve as king and “to lead to a new stage of hope using his experience and the drive of a new generation.”

Felipe’s 8-year-old elder daughter, Leonor, becomes the Princess of Asturias, who is first in line to the throne.

The new king is viewed as being unhurt by the charges of corruption that have dogged the royal family as many Spaniards continue to struggle to find jobs and pull themselves out of financial ruin.

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