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a new face for Spain's beleaguered monarchy

"His preparation, his character and the wide range of experience he has been acquiring in public affairs over the last 20 years are a solid guarantee that he will be able to carry out his role," said Rajoy.

"And something which is very important in Spain he's not earthy but he does know how to connect with people."

"Felipe is grounded, well informed, has good judgement but will follow advice" says Bieito Rubido, editor of monarchist century old newspaper ABC.

But the legacy of the 39 year reign of the once beloved king hangs over him and Spain no longer needs the monarchy for political stability as it did when his father took on the role to oversee the transition from dictatorship to democracy.

He has Nike Black Long Sleeve Women's taken pains to position himself as a believer in public service rather than one of the easy living monarchs of the past.

Felipe is very different from his extravagant 76 year old father Juan Carlos I and, while friendly in public, prefers an understated lifestyle.

The 46 year old, married to a former TV news anchor, has not been implicated in the allegations of royal extravagance and corruption that tarnished the last years of the reign of his father Juan Carlos.

By Elisabeth O'Leary

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A royal source said the transition was for political reasons. A wave of scandals has eroded the royal family's credibility, leaving it looking decadent and out of step with a nation which has suffered a prolonged economic crisis.

Royal observers think his lifestyle is informed by both his natural character and his awareness of the times.

But the role has undergone another huge shift in the past five years as an economic crisis brought free spending Spain to a grinding halt and now more than one in four are unemployed.

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his twenties. Two of his girlfriends were rejected by his parents as inappropriate partners, one because she had been an underwear model.

The royal source said that was when the king took the decision to abdicate, delaying the announcement so that it did not impact on the European Union elections held late last month.

have, in recent times, gone astray," Felipe said in a 2012 speech, referring to "generosity, integrity, effort and excellence".

Younger Spaniards are increasingly republican, and a poll at the start of 2013 showed 57.8 percent of young people rejected the monarchy.

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Keen on sport, particularly sailing, he went to university in his home city and like most of Spain's ruling class studied law. He completed military training and then headed to Georgetown, Washington to study international relations.

Two thirds of Spaniards thought Juan Carlos should step down in favour of his son, according to a poll in newspaper El Mundo in January 2014, and most of those polled said the monarchy could recover its prestige if Felipe took the throne.

Crisis hit Spain is sceptical of monarchy

Felipe Juan Pablo y Alfonso de Todos los Santos de Borbon y de Grecia his full name lacks the "common touch" of his father famous for giving bear hugs. But he is far more at ease with people than the British royal family.

But support for the monarchy has fallen and the privileged lifestyle of the royals has irked many Spaniards struggling to make ends meet.

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Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy announced Juan Carlos's planned abdication on Monday, saying Prince Felipe was well prepared to take over.

The soon to be crowned king has led a Nike Jacket 2016

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The Prince has had a lifetime's training for a position which has changed dramatically since dictator Francisco Franco designated Juan Carlos as his successor and put him on the throne, from where he oversaw the dark years of the transition to democracy.

The prince has not been tarnished by a corruption investigation involving his brother in law, Inaki Urdangarin, and a poll earlier this year showed 66 percent of Spaniards view him in a positive light.

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The 6 feet 5 inches (1.97 m) tall prince was regarded as a playboy in Nike Windrunner Black And Red

MADRID, June 2 (Reuters) Spain's next king, Felipe VI, strikes a low key contrast to his extrovert father, which could help him restore popularity to a monarchy battered by scandal.

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low key private life with his commoner wife, a divorcee former journalist, and two daughters, often seen at a cinema in central Madrid or taking his daughters to school.

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"Felipe will have to earn his place in the public's affection starting from a low point, no small task," said a veteran politician who did not want to be named.

That may help clean up the royal image if the palace is capable of assimilating a level of scrutiny unknown before the age of online social networks.

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The younger brother of the Princesses Elena and Cristina, Felipe was educated at a middle class day school close to his parent's residence in Madrid. His daughters, Leonor and Sofia, now both attend the same school.

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