Photo: King Juan Carlos and family
Spain’s King Juan Carlos, who announced last week that that he was abdicating in favor of his son, presided on Sunday over his last Armed Forces Day ceremony as supreme commander.
The king said last Monday he was abdicating in favor of his son, Felipe, after nearly 39 years on the throne.
King Juan Carlos, accompanied by Queen Sofia, Crown Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia, presided over the tribute to the fallen and a parade featuring about 500 armed forces personnel.
The monarch then attended a reception at the Royal Palace, where he is expected to sign the legislation making his abdication official in about 10 days.
This was the first joint appearance by the four royals since the king announced that he was abdicating.
King Juan Carlos was joined by the other members of the royal family in greeting the 180 guests at the reception.
Several hundred people clapped and shouted “Long live the king!” as the royals arrived at Madrid’s Lealtad Plaza for the tribute to the fallen, the most important ceremony on Armed Forces Day.
Defense Minister Pedro Morenes, Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz and the military high command also attended the ceremony.
The 46-year-old crown prince is expected to be proclaimed Felipe VI of Spain on June 19, replacing his father as head of state and supreme commander of the armed forces.
King Juan Carlos said last week that he began preparing to step down in January, when he turned 76.
Juan Carlos ascended to the throne on Nov. 22, 1975, and his son, Felipe de Borbon, became Prince of Asturias, the title held by the heir to the Spanish Crown, in January 1977.