King Juan Carlos I of Spain in what is known as the Ceremony of Promulgation of the Basic Law signed into law his abdication.
The Royal party were joined in the Hall of Columns in the Royal Palace of Madrid by government ministers.
The Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy who worked closely with the 86- year-old after he decided to make way for his son Felipe endorsed the law with his signature.
The 46-year-old former Olympic yachtsman will not officially take the helm of Spain’s monarchy until the law is published in the Official Gazette at midnight on Wednesday.
As King Felipe VI he will then be proclaimed on Thursday after being sworn in by both houses of parliament where he will give a speech before appearing before the crowds on the front balcony of the Royal Palace.
Wednesday’s ceremony was the constitutional nuts and bolts of the abdication the real work for the new king will begin on Thursday.
This was also a family affair and in tender moment Juan Carlos’s two granddaughters, Sofia and Leonor bid their former King farewell. Leonor at eight years old is now the youngest direct heir to the throne in Europe.
Ahead of the ceremony the Royal Palace had announced that Juan Carlos and his wife Sofia will retain the title of king and queen after their son officially assumes the throne.