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The King of Spain is to abdicate after nearly four decades on the throne.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy announced today that King Juan Carlos, 76, would retire “for personal reasons”. The King has recently undergone a series of hip operations.
King Juan Carlos’ popularity plummeted during the financial crisis and a recent poll by the Spanish newspaper El Mundo found that nearly two-thirds of Spaniards thought he should abdicate, associating him with the political and economic decisions that plunged the country into recession.
His son, Crown Prince Felipe, is heir to the throne.
King Juan Carlos had a private audience with Pope Francis in Rome on 28 April. He and his wife Queen Sofia attended the canonisation Masses for Saints John XXIII and John Paul II in Rome that weekend.
Above: King Juan Carlos waves before entering the White House for a private lunch with President Barack Obama in Washington on 17 February 2010. Photo: CNS photo/Jason Reed