|King Juan Carlos of Spain to abdicate|
Juan Carlos has been the King of Spain since 1975, ascending after the death of the dictator General Francisco Franco.
Crown Prince Felipe, 45, will take over the throne as Felipe VI.
King Juan Carlos has been popular for much of his reign. He is in fact one of the most recognizable heads of state, although he has become unpopular lately, thanks to the corruption charges on his daughter and her husband.
Likewise, the King has been heavily criticized when pictures of his enjoying an elephant hunting trip in Botswana in Africa surfaced in 2012, at a time when most of his subjects were reeling behind poverty and credit crunch.
|Crown Prince Felipe to succeed as King Felipe VI.|
"His Majesty King Juan Carlos has just informed me of his desire to renounce the throne and begin the process of succession."
While the king gave no direct reason why he wanted to step down from the throne, it is widely believed that his failing health is the primary reason.
There is no specific law that governs the succession on the event of an abdication, but Prime Minister Rajoy revealed that the ministers will hold a meeting to discuss the accession of Crown Prince Felipe.
"I'm convinced this is the best moment for change," Rajoy said.
It seems that abdicating has become a fad among European royals. Last year, three European heads of state abdicated: Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, King Albert II of Belgium, and Pope Benedict XVI.