A FORMER journalist and divorcee whose father is a taxi driver will be crowned the Queen of Spain.
Letizia Ortiz – previously a TV news reader – and husband Prince Felipe will take over from abdicating King Juan Carlos.
Prime Minister Rajoy announced the current King’s abdication after 39 years on the throne in a press conference.
The 76-year-old – who came to power in 1975, two days after the death of long-time dictator Francisco Franco – oversaw his country’s transition from dictatorship to democracy, but he has had repeated health problems in recent years.
He has also been mired in a string of Royal scandals over recent years, including claims that his family were involved in corruption and an embarrassing elephant-shooting trip during the middle of Spain’s financial crisis.
Formerly of CNN, Letizia married the Crown Prince Felipe just over ten years ago to a mixed reception from the Spanish public.
To many she represented the ‘modern woman’, but as a divorcee she did not sit well with the more traditionalist Catholics in Spain.
The couple began seeing each other while she was reporting on the Prestige oil spill disaster in Galicia in 2002, but the relationship was kept hidden for many months.
She also covered the World Trade Center terrorism attacks in New York, September 2001.