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“The monarchy got us out of dictatorship, gave us stability. quality=75&strip=all&w=620" class="size-large wp-image-887340" alt="AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza" src=" The case is ongoing, and the princess, the first member of the Spanish royal family to be indicted, faces more than a decade in prison if convicted of tax fraud and money laundering. It was open season on the royal family, and everyone was fair game. And I undertake my task with energy, with enthusiasm and with the open and innovative spirit that has inspired the men and women of my generation.” “I always say to my American friends, ‘We measure our history by reigns,'” says Gil-Casares, the Spanish ambassador.

Even socialists embraced the new king, which led to the popular saying, “I’m not a monarchist. The trip came to light when he broke his hip and had to be flown out of the country; Spanish citizens, barely scraping by in one of the country’s worst recessions, were furious at the excess and the droit du seigneur mentality. w=768&quality=75&strip=all&h=492 768w" sizes="(max-width: 620px) 100vw, 620px" / There was no fancy coronation, just a ceremony in front of the parliament on June 19, 2014, where Felipe, with Letizia and his daughters at his side, took the oath of office and the formal title of His Majesty King Felipe VI of Bourbon and Greece.I’m a Juancarlist.” “The monarchy has played a very important role, and still plays an important role, in Spain,” says Ramon Gil-Casares, Spain’s ambassador to the United States. The royal family was already struggling with a scandal closer to home: Princess Cristina and her husband, Iñaki Urdangarin, were accused of taking millions of charitable donations for private use. The 18th-century Spanish crown was displayed but not placed on his head, no foreign royals were invited, and there was an afternoon reception for 2,000 guests with tapas instead of a lavish banquet. In his first address as king, Felipe tried to reassure the politicians and public that things had changed: “These are my convictions about the Crown, which from today I shall embody: a renewed monarchy for new times.“He was very hostile to the idea.” A file picture taken on October 21, 2011 shows Princess Letizia of Spain attending the 2011 Prince of Asturias awards ceremony at the Campoamor Theater, in Oviedo. w=620&quality=75&strip=all&h=458" width="620" height="458" srcset=" But from the beginning, all eyes have been fixed on Letizia.There was constant gossip about her nose job (for respiratory problems, says the palace), her perfect figure, her designer clothes, an unbending perfectionism, her royal duties and other outrages real or imagined — especially from Spain’s old aristocrats, who resent that Felipe never once looked in their direction before he married a middle-class commoner.Spanish King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia visit the first President of the US George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate September 15, 2015 in Mount Vernon, Virginia. w=620&quality=75&strip=all&h=413" width="620" height="413" srcset=" The question is whether these two mortals — one a descendant of Ferdinand and Isabella, the other the granddaughter of a taxi driver — can save the fragile Spanish monarchy.

British biographer Andrew Morton, who knows a thing or three about modern royals, says it comes down to one woman: “The weight of the future rests on the slender shoulders of Letizia.” Felipe Juan Pablo Alfonso de Todos los Santos de Borbón y Grecia was born in Madrid on Jan.

The royal family, staff and residences cost Spanish taxpayers about million annually. Even the leader of a new leftist party praised the king on his first anniversary — which is critical but rarely discussed, says Morton: “Monarchies do not fall or rise by popular opinion. In Spain, there’s no appetite among the political class to abolish” the throne.

(Britain’s royals, by contrast, officially cost taxpayers million per year, although critics claim that the actual number is 10 times that.) Felipe also banned members of the royal family from working for private companies or accepting expensive gifts, stripped his sister of her title of duchess and her duties, and has promised that no one is above the law. Besides, Spain — still struggling with more than 20 percent unemployment and an uncertain economy — is less concerned with the monarchy right now than with the growing secession movement in the northeastern region of Catalonia, where more than a million people marched through the streets of Barcelona last week calling for independence. quality=75&strip=all&w=620" class="size-large wp-image-887335" alt=" JAIME REINA/AFP/Getty Images" src="

30, 1968, the third child and only son of King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofia.

Because Spain still adheres to the male line of succession, Felipe became crown prince and heir to the throne.

Last week, Queen Elizabeth II became Britain’s longest-serving monarch — an accomplishment not at all certain 20 years ago, after separations, divorces and public calls for the abolition of the institution.