The stylish Spanish royal hit headlines when she touched down in the UK alongside husband Felipe yesterday, but just who is the Queen of Spain?
King Felipe and Queen Letizia have travelled to the UK for a three-day state visit, the first by a Spanish monarch for more than three decades. The visit is thought to represent an important step toward securing relations with Spain in advance of Brexit. Thresea May triggered the Brexit process on 29 March, meaning that the UK is currently scheduled to leave on Friday 29 March.
The visit began in traditional British style – with a torrential downpour. Notwithstanding the obligatory umbrella, the Queen of Spain stunned in her sleek white Hugo Boss ensemble, causing many to ask, “Who is the Queen of Spain?” and “Who is Queen Letizia?”. Well, wonder no more – we’ve got the answers to all your questions…
Who is Queen Letizia?
The woman who would become Spain’s first ‘commoner’ queen was born Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano in Oviedo, Spain, on 15th September 1972. The eldest daughter of a journalist father and nurse mother, she gained a master’s degree in audiovisual journalism before working as a newspaper reporter and TV news anchor for a number of Spanish and Mexican news outlets, broadcasting live from New York’s Ground Zero in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks in 2001 and filing reports from Iraq following the 2003 invasion.
A divorcee, Letizia married her childhood sweetheart, a high school literature teacher, in 1998, following a 10-year courtship, but the marriage only lasted a year.
She met Felipe, five years her senior, at a dinner party in 2002. The pair kept their relationship completely secret before announcing a surprise engagement in 2003. But Letizia did make headlines when she reprimanded Felipe, then Prince of Asturias, for interrupting her during the official photocall, jokingly telling him to “let me finish”.
The couple married in Madrid’s Cathedral Santa María la Real de la Almudena on 22nd May 2004.
6’5″ Felipe, who has degrees in Law and International Relations, competed in 1992’s Olympic Games in Barcelona as part of Spain’s yachting team.
Letizia gave birth to their first daughter, Leonor, Princess of Asturias, on 31st October 2005. Leonor’s younger sister, the Infanta Sofia, was born on 29th April 2007. Felipe and Letizia became King and Queen of Spain on 19th June 2014, when Felipe’s father, Juan Carlos, abdicated due to ill health following a 40-year reign.
What will the Queen of Spain do today?
King Felipe and Queen Letizia, who attended the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in 2011, will enjoy a private lunch at Buckingham Palace today, following their official greeting by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh on Horse Guard’s Parade.
They are then expected to be invited to view an exhibition of items from the Royal Collection in the Picture Gallery before visiting Clarence House to partake in afternoon tea with the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall.
The Spanish royals will be treated to a State Banquet at Buckingham Palace this evening. However, it might not be all fun and games during the couple’s visit.
Felipe is expected to raise the ‘thorny issue’ of Gibraltar, set to become a sticking point as Brexit negotiations continue. Last year, he called for the return of the territory to Spain, telling the UN that it was time “to end the colonial anachronism of Gibraltar”.