The 21st century monarchs of Europe have pioneered a modern approach to royal life. None more so than King Felipe VI of Spain, who with gentle grace and reserve has reigned over the European nation since 2012. Known for his natural charm and respect for the duties of the Crown, King Felipe VI has remarked that he embodies “…the renewed monarchy for a new time.”
Born on January 30, 1968, in Madrid in Spain, King Felipe VI has followed in the footsteps of his royal father, Juan Carlos, with the assumption of the Crown. King Felipe VI’s early life was focused on receiving a strong education that would give him a significant understanding of all that his royal duties entail. This resulted in him studying for a degree in law, and subsequently a master’s in international relations. Beyond his educational achievements, King Felipe VI also spent the years before his coronation serving in the assorted military outfits of Spain. His primary responsibilities during this time were as a helicopter pilot, which earned him his helicopter pilot wings from both the Army and Navy. King Felipe VI began executing official duties as the heir apparent to the throne of Spain in the early 1990s. This involved supporting philanthropic causes, as well as fostering international fellowship between other Spanish speaking countries.
King Felipe VI’s inauguration to the role of sovereign came at a turbulent period for the monarchy of Spain. Several scandals regarding other high-ranking Spanish royals, including King Felipe’s father, Juan Carlos, had shaken the public’s trust and appreciation for the royal institution. In light of the prevailing tension in Spain, King Felipe VI’s ascent to the throne was guaranteed by his father’s abdication. King Felipe VI began his reign in 2012, with the ethos that “the Crown must constantly earn citizens’ appreciation, respect and trust.”
The monarchy of Spain is set within a constitutional structure, where the constitution grants certain discretional powers to the sovereign. Hence, King Felipe acts as a constitutional head of state for the region and in effect, personifies the enduring permanence of Spain. Crucially, King Felipe does not make any public policy decisions as a constitutional monarch. Instead, his official responsibilities require him to play an impartial role in mediating Spain’s political landscape, as well as holding the ceremonial position as commander-in-chief of the Spanish Armed Forces. He also holds an important function as the highest representative of Spain’s international relation efforts.
King Felipe VI has two children, Leonor and Sofia; the former of which is his heir presumptive. Aside from his royal duties, King Felipe VI has a significant interest in sailing sports. He even represented his country during the 1992 Barcelona Olympics as a member of the sailing team.