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Spain’s Crown Princess comes of age

MADRID (AFP) – Heir to the Spanish crown Princess Leonor swore loyalty to the constitution on her 18th birthday, a legal milestone on the path to inheriting the crown from her father King Felipe VI.

Her mother Queen Letizia and younger sister Sofia joined Felipe as Leonor took the oath before a joint session of both Houses of Parliament. Leonor wore a white suit and after the playing of the national anthem she pledged loyalty on the same copy of the constitution as her father 37 years ago. “I swear to faithfully fulfil my duties, to protect and have protected the Constitution and its laws, to respect the rights of citizens and autonomous communities and to be faithful to the king,” she said.

Loud applause echoed round the chamber of deputies in Madrid for several minutes and the king embraced his daughter.

Madrid city hall set up giant screens in the central Puerta del Sol square for the public to watch a live broadcast of the brief ceremony.

A crowd had gathered outside Parliament amid a sea of Spanish flags and shouts of ‘Long live Spain’.

The streets had been decorated with images of the queen-in-waiting.

With the oath taken, Leonor can legally succeed Felipe and automatically becomes head of state in the event of the monarch’s absence.

Her grandfather Juan Carlos, who took the oath in 1969 when dictator General Francisco Franco named him as his successor, did not attend the ceremony.

Spanish Crown Princess of Asturias Leonor attends a ceremony to swear loyalty to the constitution on her 18th birthday at the Congress of Deputies in Madrid, Spain. PHOTO: AFP
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