Can Spain's Felipe VI Restore Monarchy's Image?

Spain formally crowned a new king after more than 40 years. Felipe VI will take the throne amid the country's deep economic crisis.
Posted at 1:33 PM, Jun 19, 2014

​Even amid a shocking World Cup elimination, the streets of Madrid had something to cheer about Thursday as Spain crowned a new king.

"There are ceremonies to mark a new king of Spain. King Felipe VI was formally sworn in. The ceremony was low-key. His father, Juan Carlos, abdicated the throne at age 76." (Via WABC)

The 46-year-old king takes the throne at a time when the Spanish monarchy's ratings are at their lowest point. The country faces a double-dip recession and unemployment rates reaching 26 percent. (Via Flickr / RichterFrank-Jurgen)

The king's father, former King Juan Carlos I, ruled for more than 40 years but announced his abdication three weeks ago. He's credited with bringing democracy to Spain but also sinking the monarchy's reputation with a luxury lifestyle and no transparency. (Via EuronewsFlickr / Pedro de Matos)

While speaking to the Spanish Parliament, Felipe VI urged for a united nation. The Washington Post quotes him speaking to lawmakers:

"Today, more than ever, the people rightly demand our public lives be guided by ... moral and ethical principles."

In response to the speech, BBC News added: "But this cannot be business as usual for the Spanish monarchy, and the new king seems to accept that. Now, he has to deliver on his promise."

Many in the media pointed out the normally extravagant ceremonies now depicted a humble beginning Thursday. CBS noted they seemed deliberately simple to downplay the monarchy's grandiose image.

Standing at Felipe's side through each reception was his wife, Queen Letizia Ortiz. "Good Morning America" explains her marriage is a true Cinderella story and similar to another famous royal couple.

"She's a blue-collar beauty and he a blue-blood prince educated at Georgetown. … Her middle-class background has many comparing her to another famous royal, and like Kate, she's quickly becoming a fashion icon." (Via ABC)

Headlines have dubbed her the "middle-class Queen," and others drew comparisons to Prince William's wife, Kate Middleton. (Via CTV, The Globe and Mail)

As the ceremonies finish, the royal family will write their own history with some uncertainty.

In a recent poll by Spanish newspaper El Pais, crowning Felipe boosted the popularity of the royals. However, nearly two-thirds of Spanish citizens also support the idea of a referendum on whether Spain should continue to be a constitutional monarchy.