File - Spanish Crown Prince Felipe waves as he leaves the International Tourism Trade Fair (FITUR) on its inauguration day in Madrid in this January 22, 2014. REUTERS/Juan Medina
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Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy announced Juan Carlos' planned abdication Monday, saying Prince Felipe was well prepared to take over.Felipe is very different from his extravagant 76-year-old father Juan Carlos I and, while friendly in public, prefers an understated lifestyle.Support for the monarchy has fallen and the privileged lifestyle of the royals has irked many Spaniards struggling to make ends meet.Two thirds of Spaniards thought Juan Carlos should step down in favor of his son, according to a poll in newspaper El Mundo in January 2014, and most of those polled said the monarchy could recover its prestige if Felipe took the throne.Younger Spaniards are increasingly republican, and a poll at the start of 2013 showed 57.8 percent of young people rejected the monarchy.The younger brother of the Princesses Elena and Cristina, Felipe was educated at a middle class day school close to his parent's residence in Madrid. In an era when job security, perhaps even for the prince, is a thing of the past, the success of the monarchy will lie in Felipe's ability to convince younger Spaniards that the royal stipend can be justified.
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