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Finger food, no banquet, for guests as frugal new Spanish king pays heed to economic crisis

Crown Prince Felipe ascends to the Spanish throne at midnight Wednesday, but there won't be any ritzy official celebrations.

The economic crisis, which has put the unemployment rate in Spain at 25 percent, has compelled Europe's newest king to be relatively frugal at the formal proclamation ceremonies Thursday.

Felipe's father, 76-year-old Juan Carlos, misjudged public anger at financial hardship when he went on a luxurious elephant-hunting safari in Africa. Felipe, 46, appears keen to show he's more in tune with the Spaniards.

There will be no banquet, just a reception with tapas-style nibbles which guests will eat while standing.

Navarra University Modern History Professor Pablo Perez Lopez said the royals want to signal sobriety in spending that "shows a certain sense of solidarity in a time of economic difficulty."