World

Spain's Crown Prince Felipe emphasizes unity in first speech since being tapped as king

  • Historian Capuchino,Tarsicio de Azcona, center, receives the Prince's Viana Award, from Spain's Prince Felipe at the Monastery of Leyre, 60 kilometers (40 miles) from Pamplona, northern Spain, Wednesday, June 4, 2014. King Juan Carlos, who led Spain's transition from dictatorship to democracy but faced damaging scandals amid the nation's financial meltdown, announced Monday he will abdicate in favor of his more popular son, Prince Felipe, so that fresh royal blood can rally the nation. (AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos)

    Historian Capuchino,Tarsicio de Azcona, center, receives the Prince's Viana Award, from Spain's Prince Felipe at the Monastery of Leyre, 60 kilometers (40 miles) from Pamplona, northern Spain, Wednesday, June 4, 2014. King Juan Carlos, who led Spain's transition from dictatorship to democracy but faced damaging scandals amid the nation's financial meltdown, announced Monday he will abdicate in favor of his more popular son, Prince Felipe, so that fresh royal blood can rally the nation. (AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos)  (The Associated Press)

  • A civil guard, bottom left watches a musical band walk past during the traditional 'Changing of the Guard' ceremony at the Royal Palace in Madrid,  Spain, Wednesday, June 4, 2014. The cabinet of Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has approved a proposal for emergency legislation that allows King Juan Carlos to abdicate and hand over his duties to Crown Prince Felipe. Juan Carlos is widely respected for leading Spain's transition from dictatorship to democracy and staring down a 1981 coup attempt, but was hit hard by royal scandals over the last several years. He announced Monday he was abdicating because his son is ready for the job and because Spain needs a "new era of hope." (AP Photo/Paul White)

    A civil guard, bottom left watches a musical band walk past during the traditional 'Changing of the Guard' ceremony at the Royal Palace in Madrid, Spain, Wednesday, June 4, 2014. The cabinet of Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has approved a proposal for emergency legislation that allows King Juan Carlos to abdicate and hand over his duties to Crown Prince Felipe. Juan Carlos is widely respected for leading Spain's transition from dictatorship to democracy and staring down a 1981 coup attempt, but was hit hard by royal scandals over the last several years. He announced Monday he was abdicating because his son is ready for the job and because Spain needs a "new era of hope." (AP Photo/Paul White)  (The Associated Press)

  • Royal guardsmen parade during the traditional 'Changing of the Guard' ceremony inside the courtyard of the Royal Palace in Madrid, Spain, Wednesday, June 4, 2014. The cabinet of Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has approved a proposal for emergency legislation that allows King Juan Carlos to abdicate and hand over his duties to Crown Prince Felipe. Juan Carlos is widely respected for leading Spain's transition from dictatorship to democracy and staring down a 1981 coup attempt, but was hit hard by royal scandals over the last several years. He announced Monday he was abdicating because his son is ready for the job and because Spain needs a "new era of hope." (AP Photo/Paul White)

    Royal guardsmen parade during the traditional 'Changing of the Guard' ceremony inside the courtyard of the Royal Palace in Madrid, Spain, Wednesday, June 4, 2014. The cabinet of Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has approved a proposal for emergency legislation that allows King Juan Carlos to abdicate and hand over his duties to Crown Prince Felipe. Juan Carlos is widely respected for leading Spain's transition from dictatorship to democracy and staring down a 1981 coup attempt, but was hit hard by royal scandals over the last several years. He announced Monday he was abdicating because his son is ready for the job and because Spain needs a "new era of hope." (AP Photo/Paul White)  (The Associated Press)

Crown Prince Felipe says he wants to promote Spain as a "united and diverse" nation when he takes over as king of the country that struggles with 25 percent unemployment and Catalonian secessionist fervor.

Felipe received a standing ovation from sympathizers in an ancient monastery church, where he spoke Wednesday for the first time since he was tapped to become king.

Felipe attended the ceremony to award a cultural prize to a Franciscan friar-historian. His wife Princess Letizia, a glamorous former television journalist dubbed the nation's first "Middle Class Queen" in Spanish media, also attended.

The crown prince will become King Felipe VI as early as June 18 following Monday's announcement by King Juan Carlos that he will abdicate because the country needs new royal blood to lead it.