Spain-Juan-Carlos-FelipeMadrid: A teary-eyed King Juan Carlos sealed his abdication of the Spanish crown after a four-decade reign, clearing the throne for his 46-year-old son, Felipe VI.

The 76-year-old monarch signed the act of parliament ending his reign with a golden pen at a ceremony in Madrid’s Royal Palace, then hugged his son. The embrace between the elderly king and his heir under the palace’s chandeliers marked the first royal succession in Spain’s post-Franco history.

Dressed in a dark blue suit and pink tie, Juan Carlos, who uses a cane following repeated hip operations, stood unaided during part of the ceremony but had to briefly hold Felipe’s arm to steady himself.