King Felipe of Spain Officially Takes the Throne

06/19/2014 at 09:30 AM EDT

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King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain with daughters Leonor and Sofia

Gerard Julien/AFP/Getty



As Prince Felipe became King Felipe VI of Spain on Thursday, his wife Letizia became Europe's newest queen.

The proclamation ceremony began at 9:30 a.m. in the Zarzuela royal palace, just outside Madrid, with close family attending. During the event, King Juan Carlos, 76 – whose reign ended at midnight Wednesday – handed over the symbolic commander-in-chief of the armed forces's red sash to his son.

Then, as King Felipe VI, 46, Queen Letizia, 41, and daughters Leonor (the new Princess of Asturias), 8, and Sofia, 7, traveled from the palace to the Congress in a covered black Rolls-Royce, Spaniards lined the route and hung out of balconies trying to get a glimpse of the royal family.



And the new queen did not disappoint.

True to form, Letizia was wearing her favorite Spanish designer, Felipe Varela, and in doing so made it clear she would continue with her passion of supporting Spanish fashion.

The clean lines of her cream coat, adorned with a little collar of pink crystals, and her sheath dress of the same color, as well as her loose hair, the lack of ostentatious jewelry (a blue brooch and small earrings) and Letizia's natural make-up spoke of simplicity and normality, according to El Pais, Spain's largest newspaper.

After the proclamation ceremony, King Felipe and his family returned to the royal palace for their appearance on the balcony. At 1:00 p.m. the couple greeted some 2,000 guests, from a wide-ranging selection of Spanish society, in the throne room.



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