Prince Felipe’s coronation could take place in the second half of June, after Spain’s government discussed a provisional calendar for a rapid introduction of legislation covering King Juan Carlos’s imminent abdication and the Prince’s succession.
After a series of cabinet meetings, parliamentary speaker Jesus Posada Moreno told media that the legislation would probably be passed by 18 June at the latest.
Although a final confirmation of precise dates for the law’s path through the parliament’s two chambers has yet to be made, the Prince could be sworn in as King Felipe VI shortly afterwards. There is speculation in the media that 24 June – Juan Carlos Saint’s Day and a holiday across much of Spain – could be an appropriate date for the coronation.
Apart from Felipe’s formal access to the throne, his coronation will usher in other important changes for Spain’s royal family.
King Juan Carlos himself is widely expected, after abdication, to lose his current automatic immunity from prosecution. Sources within the royal household have indicated that the King’s two daughters, Princess Cristina and Princess Elena, will then have the same status as that currently held by the King’s sisters – technically still part of the royal family, but no longer with official duties.
In pictures: Reign of King Juan Carlos of Spain
In pictures: Reign of King Juan Carlos of Spain
1/20 King Juan Carlos signs his abdication
Spain's King Juan Carlos I signing the document of his abdication before he hands it to Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy (not pictured), at La Zarzuela Palace in Madrid
2/20 King Juan Carlos and Spanish Queen Sofia at the exhibition
Spanish King Juan Carlos and Spanish Queen Sofia at the exhibition of the 75th anniversary of the Spanish EFE News Agency in Madrid, 2014
3/20 King Juan Carlos meets Pope Francis
Spain's King Juan Carlos and Spain's Queen Sofia meet Pope Francis during the canonisation mass of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II on St Peter's square at the Vatican, 2014
4/20 King Juan Carlos and his wife with Mexican author Elena Poniatowska
King Juan Carlos of Spain and Queen Sofia of Spain with the Cervantes Award 2013 winner Mexican author Elena Poniatowska before the Cervantes Awards ceremony at the Alcala de Henares University in Alcala de Henares, near of Madrid, 2014
5/20 King Juan Carlos, Queen Sofia and their granddaughters
Spain's King Juan Carlos, Spain's Queen Sofia and their granddaughters Sofia (L) and Leonor (R) before the traditional Mass of Resurrection in Palma de Mallorca, 2014
6/20 King Juan Carlos of Spain receives new ambassadors
King Juan Carlos of Spain (C) receives new ambassadors at the Royal Palace in Madrid, 2013
7/20 King Juan Carlos with his family
(L-R) Spain's King Juan Carlos I, Queen Sofia, Crown Prince Felipe de Borbon, Princess Letizia, Princess Elena, Princess Cristina and her husband Inaki Urdangarin taking part in a reception at the Royal Palace after an army parade to mark Spain's National Day in Madrid, 2011
8/20 King Juan Carlos with Prince Charles
Spain's King Juan Carlos I (2L) and his wife Queen Sofia (2R), Spain's Crown Prince Felipe (R) and his wife Princess Letizia (L) welcome Britain's Prince Charles, Prince of Wales (3R), and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall (3L) before a lunch at the Zarzuela Palace in Madrid, 2011
9/20 King Juan Carlos with Queen Sofia
Spanish King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia wave as they appear on the balcony of the royal palace after the wedding ceremony of Crown Prince Felipe de Bourbon and Letizia Ortiz in Madrid, 2004
10/20 King Juan Carlos with Bolivian President Hugo Banzer Suarez
Bolivian President Hugo Banzer Suarez (L) and Spanish King Juan Carlos (R) review a guard of honor in La Paz upon the Spanish monarch's arrival in 2000
11/20 King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia laying a wreath
Spanish King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia wave to a crowd in Montevideo after laying a wreath at the monument of Jose Artigas, hero of the Uruguayan revolution, 1996
12/20 King Juan Carlos outside Cathedral of Santiago
King Juan Carlos of Spain waving as he walks out the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela after the Santiago pilgrimage mass in 1999
13/20 King of Spain Juan Carlos with Cuba's President Fidel Castro
Cuba's President Fidel Castro and King of Spain Juan Carlos wave upon the King's arrival to the Havana's airport in 1999
14/20 King of Spain Juan Carlos delivers a speech
King of Spain Juan Carlos delivers a speech at the national Assembly in Paris, 1993
15/20 Spanish King Juan Carlos with French President Francois Mitterrand
Spanish King Juan Carlos (L) and hid wife Queen Sofia (R) with French President Francois Mitterrand (C) and French first lady Danielle Mitterrand (2nd R) at Elysee Palace in Paris, during their official visit in 1985
16/20 Prince Juan Carlos receives dynastic rights
Prince Juan Carlos de Borbon (3-L), his wife, Princes Sofia (2-L), their son prince Felipe de Borbon (L) and his mother Maria de las Mercedes (R) listening to his father count of Barcelona Juan (2-R) annoucing he gave up his dynastic rights to his son Prince Juan Carlos in 1977
17/20 King Juan Carlos and Spanish dictator General Francisco
King Juan Carlos and Spanish dictator General Francisco Franco salute the crowd in Madrid in 1975
18/20 Prince Juan Carlos of Spain and his wife princess Sophia's wedding
Prince Juan Carlos of Spain and his wife princess Sophia of Greece in Athens during their wedding in 1962
19/20 Prince Juan Carlos with his wife
Prince Juan Carlos of Spain and his wife Princess Sofia of Greece in the 1960s
20/20 Prince Juan Carlos in Military Academy
Prince Juan Carlos of Spain in the Military Academy of Zaragoza between 1955-57
For Princess Cristina, at least, this will be not be entirely new, given she has not been actively representing the crown since her husband, Iñaki Urdangarin, was formally declared to be under investigation in an ongoing corruption case in 2011.
Prince Felipe and King Juan Carlos’s first joint public appearance since the news of the King’s abdication took place this morning.
Applauded by a small group of pro-monarchists on their arrival, the two presided over a military ceremony in the town of San Lorenzo de el Escorial, some 60km west of Madrid. Today at a ceremony in Navarre in north-west Spain, the Prince is expected to make his first speech since news of the abdication broke.
Although it has been estimated that more than 90 per cent of Spain’s parliamentary deputies will vote in favour of the law governing the succession, since Monday Spain’s flourishing pro-republican movement has used the King’s abdication to highlight their demands.
Dozens of demonstrations were held across Spain demanding either an end to the monarchy or a referendum on its continuing existence, with the biggest, in Madrid’s emblematic Puerta del Sol, drawing around 20,000 protesters. Meanwhile in Barcelona, anti-monarchists and pro-independence campaigners joined forces in Plaza de Catalunya and in Valencia a massive wooden guillotine was draped in the republican flag.
Outside Spain, too, smaller pro-republican protests were held in some cities in Europe and in Central America.