The King of Spain, Juan Carlos I, is to abdicate in favor of his son, announced Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on Monday. “His Majesty has just informed me of his will to step down,” PM Rajoy said in a televised statement. 

The King’s son, Prince Felipe, 46, is to become the country’s next king. King Juan Carlos I, 76, has been on the throne since 1975 when he took over the country after dictator Francisco Franco's death and directed Spain into becoming a democratic country.

The king has had health problems in recent years. His popularity also dropped after the emergence of scandals, including his elephant-shooting trip in 2012 when Spain was in the middle of a financial crisis.