Today, the 2nd of June 2014, King Juan Carlos of Spain has abdicated. The king appeared on Spanish television at 1pm, just hours after Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy announced that the monarch was to abdicate.
Juan Carlos was born to Infante Juan, Count of Barcelona and Princes María Mercedes Bourbon-Two Sicilies in Rome in 1938, where his family had settled after the procalmation of the Second Spanish Republic.
In 1962 he married Princess Sophia of Greece and Denmark, daughter of King Paul of Greece and they had three children: Infanta Elena (1963), Infanta Cristina (1965) and Felipe, Prince of Asturias (1968)
Juan Carlos was named Franco's personal successor and given the new title of Prince of Spain in 1969.
After Franco's death in 1975, Juan Carlos was proclaimed King of Spain and took the name of King Juan Carlos I.
King Juan Carlos quickly instituted reforms and appointed Adolfo Suárez as Prime Minister of Spain. Many reforms took place during those first years as King of Spain: PSOE and the Communist Party were legalized, the first democratic elections in 1977, the promulgation of the Constitution in 1978, etc.
King Juan Carlos's role has been decisive to build the present-day democratic Spain.