As Spanish King Juan Carlos abdicates after 39 years on the throne, in favor of his son Crown Prince Felipe, Spain gets its second monarch in the democratic era that began with the death of dictator Francisco Franco in 1975.

Born in Madrid in 1968, Prince Felipe is the third child and only son of King Carlos, who is 76 years old. He's expected to take the name of Felipe VI. 

On Jan. 30, 1986, at the age of 18, Felipe swore allegiance to the Constitution and to the King in the Spanish Parliament, fully accepting his institutional role as successor to the Crown.

After earning a degree in law at the Autonomous University of Madrid and a Master's Degree in Foreign Service at Georgetown University in the U.S., Felipe, who is now 46, began participating in official meetings in Spain, often standing in for his father when unable to attend.

Felipe often makes official visits to European countries and overseas, including to Latin America, the Middle East and Australia.

He also plays a very active role in the promotion of Spain's economic and commercial interests and of Spanish language and culture in foreign countries.

Felipe was a member of the Olympic sailing team at the Barcelona Games in 1992. He finished in sixth place in the sailing class.

The new king of Spain is also honorary president of several associations and foundations, such as the Spanish branch of the Association of European Journalists -- a profession he's connected to by virtue of his marriage to a former journalist. 

Very active in volunteer work, he was named an "Eminent Person" by then-United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, during the U.N. declaration of 2001 as the International Year of Volunteers.

Felipe bears the official titles of Prince of Asturias, Prince of Gerona, Prince of Viana, Duke of Montblanc, Count of Cervera, and Lord of Balaguer.

He speaks Spanish, Catalan, French, English and some Greek. (His mother, the Greek-born Queen Sophia, is princess of Greece and sister of the deposed Greek monarch Constantine II.)

The Spanish prince became engaged to former print and broadcast journalist Letizia Ortiz in November 2003.

The couple married on May 22, 2004 in the Almudena Cathedral in Madrid, with members of several European royal families attending.

The wedding was watched by more than 25 million television viewers in Spain alone and was broadcast throughout the world.

The couple has two daughters, Leonor and Sofia.

A version of this story originally appeared in the IBTimes UK.