Felipe VI or Philip VI (Felipe Juan Pablo Alfonso de Todos los Santos de Borbón y Grecia; born 30 January 1968) is the King of Spain. Felipe VI speaks Spanish, Catalan, French, English and some Greek. He ascended the throne on 19 June 2014 upon the abdication of his father, Juan Carlos I. His mother is Queen Sofía, and he has two elder sisters, Infanta Elena, Duchess of Lugo, and Infanta Cristina. In 2004, Felipe married TV news journalist Letizia Ortiz with whom he has two daughters, Leonor (his heir presumptive) and Sofía.
In accordance with the Spanish Constitution, as monarch, he is head of state and commander-in-chief of the Spanish Armed Forces with military rank of Captain General, and also plays the role of the supreme representation of Spain in international relations.
Felipe VI was born at Our Lady of Loreto Hospital at Madrid, the third child and only son of Infante Juan Carlos and Princess Sofía of Greece and Denmark. He was baptised on 8 February 1968 at the Palace of Zarzuela by the Archbishop of Madrid, Casimiro Morcillo, with water from the Jordan River. His full baptismal name, Felipe Juan Pablo Alfonso de Todos los Santos, consists of the names of the first Bourbon king of Spain (Felipe V), his grandfathers (Infante Juan of Spain and King Paul of Greece), his great-grandfather King Alfonso XIII of Spain, and de Todos los Santos ("of all the Saints") as is customary among the Bourbons. His godparents were his paternal grandfather Juan and his paternal great-grandmother, Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain. Additionally, he is the third cousin once removed of Queen Elizabeth II, King Harald V, Queen Margrethe II, and King Carl XVI Gustav of the United Kingdom, Norway, Denmark, and Sweden respectively.
Shortly after Felipe's birth he was styled infante. The dictator Francisco Franco died just more than two months before Felipe's eighth birthday, and Felipe's father ascended the throne, as the latter had been appointed as Prince (heir presumptive of Franco) back in 1969. In his first official appearance, Felipe attended his father's proclamation as king on 22 November 1975.
In 1977, Felipe was formally proclaimed Prince of Asturias. In May, nine-year-old Felipe was made an honorary soldier of the 1st King's Immemorial Infantry Regiment. The occasion was marked on 28 May and was attended by the king, the prime minister and several other ministers in a ceremony at the infantry's barracks. On 1 November the same year, he was ceremoniously paid homage as Prince of Asturias in Covadonga.
In 1981 Felipe received the Collar of the Order of the Golden Fleece from his father, the Chief and Sovereign of the Order. On his 18th birthday on 30 January 1986, Felipe swore allegiance to the Constitution and to the King in the Spanish Parliament as required by the constitution, fully accepting his role as successor to the Crown.
Felipe attended school at Santa María de los Rosales, which his daughters currently attend. Felipe attended high school at Lakefield College School in Ontario, Canada, and studied at the Autonomous University of Madrid, where he graduated with a degree in Law; he also completed several courses in Economics. He completed his academic studies by obtaining a Master of Science in Foreign Service degree from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, where he was the roommate of his cousin, Crown Prince Pavlos of Greece.
Felipe's Juan Carlos became King in late November 1975, but no title was conferred on Felipe as heir apparent until 1977, when he was created Prince of Asturias, the traditional title normally held by the heir to the Spanish throne. The royal decree granting him this title also entitled him to use "the other historical titles corresponding to the heir of the Crown". Felipe started using the Aragonese title of Prince of Girona publicly on 21 April 1990, during a trip around Aragon, Catalonia and Valencia, becoming the first Bourbon to use this title.
Upon ascending the throne, Felipe assumed the same titles held by his father. If the former Kingdoms of Aragon and Navarre had separate naming styles, he would also be known as Felipe V of Aragon and Felipe VII of Navarre along with Felipe VI of Castile.
As the heir to the throne, a carefully regulated and structured plan was laid out for Felipe's military training. In August 1985, a Royal Decree named Felipe as officer at the General Military Academy in Zaragoza. He began his military training there in September. In September 1986, he began his naval training at the Escuela Naval Militar in Marin (Pontevedra), joining the Third Brigade.
In September 1987, he began his air force training there where he learned to fly aircraft. As part of his military training, Felipe trained as a military helicopter pilot. In 1992, he was promoted to captain in the Air Force. In 1993, he was promoted to lieutenant in the Navy and captain in the Infantry of the Army. In 2009 he was promoted to colonel in the Army, frigate captain in the Navy, and lieutenant colonel in the Air Force.
Since 19 June 2014, after his ascension to the throne, he acquired the rank of Capitán General (Commander-in-chief) of all the Spanish armies (Land, Navy and Air Force).
Felipe undertook his constitutional duties as heir to the throne, hosting many official events in Spain and participating in all events of different sectors and aspects of Spanish public life. On occasions when King Juan Carlos I was unable to attend, Felipe presided over the annual presentation of dispatches to officers and non-commissioned officers in the Armed Forces as well as participating in military exercises held by the three Armed Services.
Felipe has also played an active role in promoting Spain's economic, commercial and cultural interests and the Spanish language abroad. He frequently represents Spain at world economic and trade events (e.g. Expotecnia, Expoconsumo, and Expohabitat), and is especially interested in promoting the creation of Centres and University Chairs to advance the study of Spain both historically and in the present-day at major foreign universities.
In addition to his official activities, Felipe serves as Honorary President of several associations and foundations, such as the Codespa Foundation, which finances economic and social development in Ibero-America and other countries, and the Spanish branch of the Association of European Journalists, comprising outstanding communications professionals. Most noteworthy is the Príncipe de Asturias Foundation, where he presides annually at the international awards ceremony of the highly prestigious Princess of Asturias Awards (formerly the Prince of Asturias Awards).
Felipe was appointed a "UN-Eminent Person" by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in 2001, during its International Year of Volunteers, and continues to make contributions internationally towards enhancing the importance of voluntary work.
In 2019 he received the World Peace & Liberty Award from the World Jurist Association at the World Law Congress in Madrid.
Felipe was a member of the Spanish Olympic sailing team at the Barcelona Games in 1992. He is also an honorable member of the International Soling Association. (Both his mother and uncle, King Konstantínos II of the Hellenes, were on the Greek sailing team at the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome, and Felipe's father and sister were also Olympic sailors for Spain.)
Felipe's bachelor years were a source of interest to the Spanish press for several years. His name was linked with several eligible women, but only two notable girlfriends: Spanish noblewoman Isabel Sartorius, around 1989 to 1991, daughter of the Marquess of Mariño, who was viewed unfavourably by the Royal Family due to her mother's cocaine addiction, and Norwegian model Eva Sannum, who modelled underwear. When Felipe finally began a serious relationship, nothing was suspected before the official announcement of the Prince's engagement on 1 November 2003 to Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano, a television journalist who had been married previously.
The couple were married on the morning of 22 May 2004 in the Almudena Cathedral, Madrid, with representatives of royal families from all over the world and most heads of state from Latin America present.
Felipe and Letizia have two daughters: Leonor, Princess of Asturias (born 31 October 2005) and Infanta Sofía (born 29 April 2007). Both were born at Ruber International Hospital in Madrid.
On 2 June 2014, King Juan Carlos announced his intent to abdicate in Felipe's favour. As required by the Constitution of Spain, the Spanish Cabinet began deliberations the following day on an organic law to give effect to the abdication. Felipe ascended the throne at the stroke of midnight on 19 June.
The next morning, after receiving the Captain General's sash from his father, he was formally sworn in and proclaimed king in a low-key ceremony held in the Cortes. He swore to uphold the Constitution before formally being proclaimed king by Posada. Upon his accession, he became the youngest monarch in Europe, being nine months younger than King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands.
As heir to the Spanish throne, Felipe's arms were the Spanish arms differenced with a label of three points azure (blue). The first quarter represents Castile, the second León, the third Aragon, and the fourth Navarre; below are the arms of Granada. In the centre, on an inescutcheon, were the ancestral arms of the sovereign House of Bourbon-Anjou. Surrounding the shield was the collar of the Order of the Golden Fleece and surmounting it was the heraldic crown of the heir to the throne, decorated with four half-arches.
Following his accession to the throne, the label on his arms was removed and the crown of the heir was changed to that of the monarch's (eight half-arches instead of four). These arms differ from those of his father's as king, as they omit the Cross of Burgundy, the yoke, and the sheaf of five arrows.
As king, Felipe has fairly extensive reserve powers on paper. He is the guardian of the Constitution and is responsible for ensuring it is obeyed and followed. While he is nominally chief executive, he is not politically responsible for exercising his powers. Per the Constitution, his acts are not valid unless countersigned by a minister, who then assumes political responsibility for the act in question.
In February 2015, Felipe announced he would cut his annual salary by 20% as a result of the economic recession and hardships continuing to hamper Spain.
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