Big, big news day here in Spain. After 39 years on the throne, King Juan Carlos of Spain is abdicating in favour of his son, the Prince of Asturias, Don Felipe de Borbón y Borbón.
I think this is a sensible move. Don Juan Carlos's health has been fairly poor of late and he's certainly less mobile than he needs to be to be an active monarch. It's also a political move to draw a line under the criticisms and suspicions that people have about the corrupt activities of other members of the royal family (not Don Felipe, btw) which of late have been subtly implicating the King himself. Public support for the institution of the monarchy has been declining for some time, since the news of the corrupt activities of the King's son-in-law and, as it has later emerged, those of his daughter, the Infanta Cristina. The King's own lavish hunting trips, in which he would use Spanish military transport for these personal jollies, enraged the populace, drowning as they were under austerity measures and record unemployment.
Some commentators have even been raising the idea of a referendum to decide upon the idea of returning Spain to being a republic. The King's decision to abdicate may indeed draw a line under that discussion for a time. Prince Felipe has a much better and cleaner public image than most of the rest of the royal family, so a new start with him as Head of State might be just what the monarchy needs.
Any thoughts on the king, the Spanish monarchy or the prospect for the reign of the new King Felipe VI?