Madrid – King Juan Carlos officially ended his 39-year reign on Wednesday to hail his son and successor Crown Prince Felipe VI. The 76-year-old King, who led Spain from dictatorship to democracy but was later hurt by scandals, stepped down in a short, solemn ceremony at Madrid’s old Royal Palace before 150 guests.

After nearly 40 years of having the throne, King Carlos said on Monday that he will be handing over his throne to his son. “It’s time to hand to over the throne to a new generation-younger with a lot of energy that can with determination, take on and carry out the changes that the current situations demands, and to face with intensity and determination the challenges of tomorrow,” he said in a televised statement according to CNN’s translation.

“Prince Felipe is “stable” and 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,” King Juan Carlos added.

The king’s son will succeed him as the formal head of state. Since Spain has not seen other king than Juan Carlos since the restoration of monarchy in 1975, the country’s legislature does not previse a law regulating the transition of power between the monarchs. Hence, a special ministerial meeting is set to establish the power transmission procedure.

The decision of Spanish King Juan Carlos to step down in favor of his son makes him the latest European monarch to decide to end his days through retirement.


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