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Spain's new King Felipe VI takes over as Captain General of armed forces in first ceremony

  • Spain Abdication-1.jpg

    Spanish Crown Prince Felipe stands during a ceremony where Spain's King Juan Carlos signed an abdication law during a ceremony at the Royal Palace in Madrid, Spain, Wednesday June 18, 2014. Spain’s Juan Carlos formally ratified the law, signing a legislation setting out the legal framework for the handover so his 46-year-old son can be proclaimed King Felipe VI at a ceremony in Parliament on Thursday. The 76-year-old monarch says he wants to step aside after a four-decade reign so that younger royal blood can rally a country beset by economic problems, including an unemployment rate of 25 percent. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza) (The Associated Press)

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    Queen Sofia, left, Spain’s King Juan Carlos, 2nd left, Spain's Crown Prince Felipe, 3rd left and Princess Letizia stand during a ceremony where King Juan Carlos signed an abdication law at the Royal Palace in Madrid, Spain, Wednesday June 18, 2014. Spain’s Juan Carlos formally ratified the law, signing a legislation setting out the legal framework for the handover so his 46-year-old son can be proclaimed King Felipe VI at a ceremony in Parliament on Thursday. The 76-year-old monarch says he wants to step aside after a four-decade reign so that younger royal blood can rally a country beset by economic problems, including an unemployment rate of 25 percent. (AP Photo/Alberto Martin, Pool) (The Associated Press)

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    Spain’s King Juan Carlos, 3rd left is applauded by Queen Sofia, left, Spain's Crown Prince Felipe, 2nd left and Princess Letizia after he signed an abdication law during a ceremony at the Royal Palace in Madrid, Spain, Wednesday June 18, 2014. Spain’s Juan Carlos formally ratified the law, signing a legislation setting out the legal framework for the handover so his 46-year-old son can be proclaimed King Felipe VI at a ceremony in Parliament on Thursday. The 76-year-old monarch says he wants to step aside after a four-decade reign so that younger royal blood can rally a country beset by economic problems, including an unemployment rate of 25 percent. (AP Photo/Alberto Martin, Pool) (The Associated Press)

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    Spain’s King Juan Carlos, left, signs an abdication law in the presence of Queen Sofia, Spain's Crown Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia during a ceremony at the Royal Palace in Madrid, Spain, Wednesday June 18, 2014. Spain’s Juan Carlos formally ratified the law, signing a legislation setting out the legal framework for the handover so his 46-year-old son can be proclaimed King Felipe VI at a ceremony in Parliament on Thursday. The 76-year-old monarch says he wants to step aside after a four-decade reign so that younger royal blood can rally a country beset by economic problems, including an unemployment rate of 25 percent. (AP Photo/Alberto Martin, Pool) (The Associated Press)

Spain's new King Felipe VI has taken part in the first official act of his reign, receiving the red sash of Captain General of the Armed Forces from his father Juan Carlos.

Felipe is being formally proclaimed monarch Thursday after 76-year-old Juan Carlos abdicated.

Felipe was to swear an oath at a ceremony with lawmakers in Parliament in front of Spain's 18th-century crown and 17th-century scepter.

After a brief military parade, King Felipe VI and his wife Queen Letizia were to drive through Madrid in a Rolls Royce before appearing before crowds at a balcony in the royal palace.

The ceremony will be low-key so as not to clash with the tough times most Spaniards have had to cope with as the country emerges from a severe economic crisis.