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Spain's new King Felipe aims to inspire his people


By HAROLD HECKLE and BARRY HATTON

MADRID (AP) -- Taking the Spanish throne on Thursday, King Felipe VI sought to inspire his beleaguered countrymen amid troubled economic times and lift patriotic spirits a day after the national team's humbling exit from the World Cup.

"We are a great nation. Let us believe and trust in ourselves," Felipe said at his swearing-in ceremony.

Felipe, 46, became monarch after his father Juan Carlos announced his surprise decision to abdicate. The 76-year-old said he was stepping aside after a four-decade reign so younger royal blood could energize the country.

Felipe, and Spain, face plenty of problems. The country is struggling to shrug off a double-dip recession and drive down its 26 percent jobless rate. Scandals have tarnished the royal family and fueled campaigns to abolish the monarchy, while influential groups in some Spanish regions continue to push hard for independence.

Appearing self-assured in a dark military dress uniform, Felipe sought to draw a line under Spain's recent past, promising "a reinvigorated monarchy for new times."

Felipe made clear that he intends to restore public trust in the monarchy.

"Today, more than ever, the people rightly demand our public lives be guided by ... moral and ethical principles," he told lawmakers, who shouted "Viva el Rey (Long live the king)!"

Saying he felt the suffering of those whose living standards were hurt by the economic crisis, Felipe urged Spaniards to shun resignation and unleash their ambitions. He said finding jobs for the unemployed was "a priority for society and the government."

In an oblique reference to separatist groups, Felipe insisted, "We all have our place in this diverse Spain." He ended his speech by saying "thank you" in three regional Spanish languages - Catalan, Basque and Galician - where independence movements are strongest.

Thousands of people lined the streets of Madrid streets as Felipe and Queen Letizia drove from parliament to the royal palace in an open-topped Rolls-Royce, waving to the crowds. The royal couple's daughters, Princesses Leonor, 8, and Sofia, 7, accompanied them for most of the day.

Authorities prohibited a demonstration by groups seeking to abolish the monarchy.

The cheering crowds and pageantry provided a welcome distraction as Spaniards reeled from the embarrassment of the national team's shock defeat by Chile in the World Cup, which ended Spanish hopes of winning a second consecutive title.

Felipe's inaugural speech came at a ceremony in the country's parliament, where the 18th-century Spanish crown and 17th-century scepter were on display. Later, a reception for 2,000 guests at the royal place featured finger foods instead of an elaborate banquet, a deliberately modest touch that acknowledged the financial hardships being endured by many Spaniards.

Juan Carlos, who for most of his reign was held in high esteem for helping steer Spain from a military dictatorship to democracy, drew fierce criticism when he went on a luxurious elephant-hunting safari in Africa two years ago while many Spaniards were losing their jobs.

In another scandal, Juan Carlos' youngest daughter, Princess Cristina, testified this year in the fraud and money-laundering case engulfing her husband, Inaki Urdangarin.

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1000|Char. 1000  Char.
abudotcom June 19 2014 at 11:02 AM

What a beautiful Family and couple… What an Elegant New Queen….

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3 replies
ggena June 19 2014 at 4:25 PM

Several comments are so discouraging. There have been negative comments about Kate, Letizia, and always, the Obamas. I don't know Letizia's marital history, nor do I know her medical conditions, anymore than I know Kate's eating habits, or the Obamas private lives. Why the Obamas are even considered in some of these posts is a mystery, but then, some manage to get them into any comment section, if only to denigrate them. Kate, Letizia and Michelle are admirable women because they seem dignified and aware of their responsibility regarding a public image. They dress tastefully, use appropriate language, and appear to respect their constituencies. I wish them well, and wish that many females in this country were as tasteful and classic as the three spoken of in this post.

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4 replies
SKCRCPUSCG June 19 2014 at 5:06 PM

Royalty is kind of like getting the Medal Of Honor simply for being born... The more I see of this non-sense, the prouder I am to be and American.

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2 replies
katieo4321 SKCRCPUSCG June 19 2014 at 8:32 PM

I got news for you..........I am a genealogist.......and every President in the United States descends from Royality. President Obama descends down the line of Princess Elizabeth Plantagent. A daughter of King Edward the First. He also descends down atleast 10 other Royal lines through his mother's side of the family. Gloria Vanderbilt was also a Royal descendant.

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2 replies
smashingmonkey katieo4321 June 20 2014 at 8:36 AM

Which has nothing to do with anything. There is a difference between making a genealogical connection and having someone BORN into royalty.

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fobesq katieo4321 June 20 2014 at 9:28 AM

That is no justification for monarchies.

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smashingmonkey SKCRCPUSCG June 20 2014 at 8:36 AM

You are correct. I can't believe Americans fawn over royalty in this day and age.

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theq043 June 19 2014 at 11:11 AM

Another waste of money like England

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1 reply
fourthbn theq043 June 19 2014 at 12:58 PM

A waste of money like the King and Queen of this country (USA).

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5 replies
Sis June 19 2014 at 12:12 PM

What a classy family. I wish them the best. Obamas should look so good, LOL

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4 replies
madcap.1 June 19 2014 at 1:05 PM

so this is the guy now who will watch his fellow coward citizens murder helpless bulls and cheer to it.
by the way how did you soccer team do in the world cup

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3 replies
wildoldwolf2 June 19 2014 at 5:38 PM

Yes, they are The Spanish Royal Family –and they are beautiful! - Human –like us. Saying that, who are we to judge how they married. Why don’t we clean our nose before we talk?
Spain we like it or not, have a lot of potential in Europe and in the world economy. They pioneered the use of renewable energy (the highest per capita in the world. They have the most adequate transportation and infrastructure in Europe (Barcelona). They financed or co-financed major projects in the US, Latin America and abroad where everybody was “scared”. They were the origin of the European Renaissance. Yes, The King Felipe is facing numerous issues but, only he, at this time, can restore Hope and Confidence, above the political noise: he can weight all the “Old Spaniard” determination and motivation, quality that, that most of us don’t have any more but ranting.
I wish to this Man, the King of Spain –and his Family, the best and good luck.

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2 replies
thundt1775 wildoldwolf2 June 19 2014 at 5:59 PM

They're not like me at all, I WORK for a living!

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1 reply
kcarthey thundt1775 June 20 2014 at 9:10 AM

You work, I work, they work. I spent some time in a position that called for public image always on show. I cannot imagine having that type of job 24/7 as they do.

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Anthony wildoldwolf2 June 20 2014 at 7:44 AM

As a son of Spaniards, I also recall the inquisition, which was supported by the Church, but led by the Queen.

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springboklyric June 19 2014 at 2:42 PM

Many in rescue are also hoping that this "new" king will change the brutal situation for not just the bulls & other domestic animals that are tortured in Spain's many so called "festivals", but that the situation will also change for the Galgos & Podencos - Spain's hunting dogs - who are treate dwith such barbarism & cruelty. Just cried over an article about kids who threw gasoline on one poor sweet Galgo & the rescuers thought they had arrived in time because they stopped things before they could light the dog on fire. They found out they were indeed too late - as they had forced her to DRINK the gasoline & it proved too much for her on the inside. RIP sweet one - along with the tens of thousands of others - who have also met such cruel fates..... :(((

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1 reply
jai.hye springboklyric June 19 2014 at 5:55 PM

The cruelty by humans to the animals we share the planet with never stops. I had not read the story about the Galgo (and actually do not want to) but it brought me to tears. There is so much extreme evil on the planet, if the world ended tomorrow it would not be soon enough. What is it in the DNA of children that would be responsible for such cruelty and evilness??? It is almost impossible not to feel that we are doomed.

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winky_dink June 19 2014 at 3:33 PM

Spain is loaded with barbarian slime balls that thrive on the torture of animals. These morons are still living in the bronze age. There is only one way to correct a situation this far out of control, drop the bomb and be done with it. Bottom feeders, each and every one.

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4 replies
Rob June 19 2014 at 3:21 PM

At least the Queen is better looking than that anorexic Kate.

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3 replies
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