Felipe VI celebrates ten years of reign reaffirming his commitment to Spain and the Constitution

"I have adhered and will always adhere to the Constitution and its values in the fulfilment of my responsibilities", said the monarch on the anniversary of his first decade on the throne 
El Rey de España Felipe VI - AFP/MARVIN RECINOS
King Felipe VI of Spain - AFP/MARVIN RECINOS
  1. Felipe VI, the most highly rated member of the Royal Family 
  2. Felipe VI's political and family challenges 

Ten years have passed since the King of Spain, Felipe VI, was proclaimed monarch following the abdication of his father, Juan Carlos I, after 39 years as head of state.    

On 19 June 2014, Felipe VI took the oath of office as King of Spain before the Cortes Generales, inaugurating a new era that he himself defined as "a renewed monarchy for a new time"

El rey de España Felipe, la reina Letizia y sus hijas, la princesa Leonor y la infanta Sofía, saludan desde un balcón después de asistir al relevo de la Guardia Real durante las conmemoraciones del décimo aniversario de la proclamación del rey de España Felipe VI en el Palacio Real - REUTERS/SUSANA VERA
Spain's King Felipe, Queen Letizia and their daughters, Princess Leonor and Infanta Sofia, wave from a balcony after attending the changing of the Royal Guard during the 10th anniversary commemorations of the proclamation of Spain's King Felipe VI at the Royal Palace - REUTERS/SUSANA VERA

"The Crown must seek to be close to the citizens, to know how to continually earn their esteem, respect and trust; and to do so, to ensure the dignity of the institution, preserve its prestige and observe an upright, honest and transparent conduct, as befits its institutional role and its social responsibility", declared the new king. 

With these words, Felipe VI already hinted that one of his main objectives during his reign would be to transform the monarchy, making it a more modern and transparent institution

El rey de España Felipe VI pronuncia su tradicional discurso de Nochebuena en el Palacio Real de La Zarzuela de Madrid el 24 de diciembre de 2023 - AFP/ANDRES BALLESTEROS
Spain's King Felipe VI delivers his traditional Christmas Eve speech at La Zarzuela Royal Palace in Madrid December 24, 2023 - AFP/ANDRES BALLESTEROS

Proof of this were some of the measures he has taken as King in this last decade, such as the reduction of the number of members of the King's Household -from 16 to 6-, or the approval of a decree law to apply transparency rules in La Zarzuela. In 2020, Felipe VI also renounced his father's inheritance and withdrew his economic allowance.  

Ten years after his proclamation as king, Felipe VI has once again reaffirmed his commitment to Spain and the constitution. "To the Constitution and its values I have adhered and will always adhere in the fulfilment of my responsibilities," the monarch stressed during his speech at the Royal Palace.  

Sus Majestades los Reyes, acompañados de Sus Altezas Reales la Princesa de Asturias y la Infanta Doña Sofía, presiden el relevo solemne de la Guardia Real, con ocasión del X aniversario de la Proclamación de Su Majestad el Rey - PHOTO/ © Casa de S.M. el Rey
Their Majesties the King and Queen, accompanied by Their Royal Highnesses the Princess of Asturias and the Infanta Doña Sofía, preside over the solemn changing of the Royal Guard, on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Proclamation of His Majesty the King - PHOTO/ © Casa de S.M. el Rey

"It was and is the commitment of a constitutional king, which transcends the demands of duty: it is also on a personal and moral level, as a profound expression of my respect and loyalty to the Spanish people, to whom I owe myself," added Felipe VI. 

"Service, commitment and duty" is the motto chosen by the King for this anniversary, which began with the raising of the Spanish flag in the Zarzuela Palace. 

During his speech, Felipe VI also thanked Queen Letizia for her "great support". "With will, dedication and sensitivity, her institutional activity has contributed enormously to giving visibility and attention to the needs of people, especially the most vulnerable," said Felipe VI, also underlining "the growing support" of his daughters, Princess Leonor and Infanta Sofía. "We want this to be a special anniversary for them too," he added.  

El rey Felipe VI de España pronuncia un discurso durante la ceremonia militar de Pascua Militar en el Palacio Real de Madrid el 6 de enero de 2024 - AFP/BORJA SÁNCHEZ-TRILLO
King Felipe VI of Spain delivers a speech during the military ceremony of Military Easter at the Royal Palace in Madrid on 6 January 2024 - AFP/BORJA SÁNCHEZ-TRILLO

Before his speech, the King decorated 19 Spanish citizens - representing all the autonomous regions and cities - for their services to others with the Order of Civil Merit.  

The decoration and the King's speech gave way to the lunch offered by the King and Queen in the gala dining room, with a toast included, and with more than one hundred guests with companions. 

This very special day will conclude with a solo act by Princess Leonor together with the Infanta Sofia with a visit at around 8:15 pm to the Royal Collections Gallery together with a group of young people who have taken part in the competition What is the King for you? with the writer María Dueñas as a guide. 

At 9 p.m. there will be a concert by the Royal Guard music unit, and at 10:35 p.m. Ara Malikian will perform. Finally, a videomapping will be projected in the Plaza de Oriente with relevant images of the King and Queen and their daughters. 

Felipe VI, the most highly rated member of the Royal Family 

The current King of Spain is the most highly valued member of the Royal Family by Spaniards today, according to a survey conducted by the IMOP Insights institute for Vanitatis on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of his proclamation.  

In the 2024 survey, Felipe VI obtained the best results of all these years, thus consolidating his reign among citizens. The King has achieved an average score of 6.6 among Spaniards, surpassing, for the first time in these 10 years, the 6.5 barrier and coming closer than ever to a "B". 

Felipe VI's political and family challenges 

This good rating is due, in part, to the way in which the monarch has dealt with the political and personal challenges of the last decade.  

El rey emerito de España Juan Carlos I posa con sus hijas, Cristina y Elena de Borbón y su nieto Juan Urdangarin - AFP/OSCAR POZO 
Spain's King Emeritus Juan Carlos I poses with his daughters, Cristina and Elena de Borbón and grandson Juan Urdangarin - AFP/OSCAR POZO 

Politically, Felipe VI has had to deal with difficult governance in Spain, where there have been five general elections in nine years. To this must also be added the controversial secession referendum by Catalan pro-independence supporters in 2017 that is still having consequences today and the coronavirus pandemic.

Un manifestante sostiene una urna en miniatura durante una manifestación que conmemora el sexto aniversario de un referéndum de autodeterminación organizado por separatistas catalanes - AFP/PAU BARRENA
A protester holds a miniature ballot box during a demonstration marking the sixth anniversary of a self-determination referendum organised by Catalan separatists - AFP/PAU BARRENA

On a personal level, the King of Spain has been able to handle the family scandals related to his father, Juan Carlos I, as well as the corruption cases linked to his sister, the Infanta Cristina, and his brother-in-law, Iñaki Urdangarín, who was sentenced to five years and 10 months in prison for embezzlement, prevarication, fraud against the Administration, two tax offences and influence peddling.  

El exjugador olímpico de balonmano y esposo de la princesa Cristina de España, Iñaki Urdangarin, abandona el juzgado de Palma de Mallorca - AFP/JAIME REINA
Former Olympic handball player and husband of Spain's Princess Cristina, Iñaki Urdangarin, leaves court in Palma de Mallorca - AFP/JAIME REINA

Due to these accusations, which significantly affected the reputation of the Royal Court, Felipe VI opted to revoke the right of the Infanta Cristina, charged with tax offences in the Nóos case, to use the title of Duchess of Palma de Mallorca.