The Royal House of Spain has seen plenty of change take place in the last few decades. In 2014, Prince Felipe became King Felipe when his father, Juan Carlos abdicated, and Spain went into a new royal era. Not only that, but the country got themselves a new Queen in Letizia, formerly known as Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano.
Just as in other Royal families around Europe, including the British Royal family, life as a king, queen, prince, or princess differs very much from the everyday lives of their subjects.
It’s certainly different when it comes to Queen Letizia, her husband, the King, and their children. Letizia comes from an ordinary family and met her future husband while working. Today, she tries to live as usual life as possible …
This is all you need to know about Queen Letizia and the King of Spain, Felipe.
It might seem like a fun life to lead, but celebrities frequently get recognized, wherever they go. Now, for some, mainly those who are young and dream of a career in something like acting or music, that isn’t a problem – some people actually want that sort of attention.
Yet any number of celebrities in Hollywood can bear witness to the negatives of being known worldwide. Put simply, normal life is practically impossible.
Some Hollywood celebrities have even said that one of their biggest wishes is just to be able to go and buy milk without being recognized. Others want to be able to walk down the street without anyone trying to take a picture or ask for an autograph.
King Felipe of Spain & Queen Letizia
Celebrity life is glamorous in many aspects, but oh-so challenging in others.
There exists an even more finite type of celebrity; an echelon above even Hollywood, whose members live arguably even more spectacular lives. Of course, we’re talking about royals.
Worldwide, there are currently more than 20 existing monarchies. One of the most well-known ones is the British Royal Family, where Queen Elizabeth yet reigns having sat on the throne for an astounding 70 years. There are others in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark, for example.
Across Europe, there are plenty of other royal families. But one, in particular, has found itself cast in a negative light of late: the Royal Family of Spain.
King Felipe of Spain took over from his father, King Juan Carlos, in 2014, after the latter abdicated. Today, however, the family live a calmer life; King Felipe has gone on to become quite the popular monarch.
Perhaps the most talked-about aspect of the Spanish Royal Family is that Felipe’s wife, Queen Letizia, isn’t of royal blood at all. She worked with something entirely else when she met then-Prince Felipe back in 2002. Soon after, the two fell in love. At that time, she was just known as Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano.
King Felipe’s way to the throne
Today, Letizia and Felipe have two lovely children together, and to an extent, they endeavor to live as close to a normal life as they can.
King Felipe of Spain was born on January 30, 1968, the son of former King, Juan Carlos, and former Queen, Sofia of Greece.
He is the only son of Juan Carlos, though has two elder sisters. In Spain, the monarchy used to be passed through the male line, meaning that Felipe was crowned despite not being the eldest. In recent years, however, that has changed, and Felipe’s eldest daughter is now in line to become queen after him.
As a child, King Felipe got to see much of the world alongside his siblings. He studied in Canada, at the Lakefield College School in Ontario, in 1984 and 1985. According to Huffington Post, other notable alumni from the school include Prince Andrew and actor Will Arnett.
“His only goal is to serve Spain”
“Those whom God has chosen to be kings and to be at the head of the destiny of a country do not have any other choice than to start to understand the importance and the special characteristics of the position because one can say that they start to become adults long before other boys of their age,” the King’s first letter home read, as reported by the Telegraph.
After studying in Canada, Felipe undertook three years of military training in Spain’s armed forces academy. Later, he earned a law degree in Madrid. He continued his studies, earning a Master’s Degree in international relations from Georgetown University in Washington DC.
“His goal, his only goal, is to serve Spain. It has been deeply ingrained in him that he must be the country’s main servant,” his mother, Queen Sofia, once said, as reported by The Guardian.
Felipe proved to be very popular among the Spanish people. In 1992, his popularity grew even more, as he competed in sailing in the Summer Olympics in Barcelona – Prince was even the flag bearer for the Spanish team. He and his sailing partners came sixth overall.
At the same time as King Felipe of Spain was studying, sailing, and preparing to be King, his future wife, Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano, was doing different things.
Who is the Spanish Queen, Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano?
She was born on September 15, 1972, in Oviedo, Spain. Letizia grew up in a working-class family. Her father, Jesús José, worked as a journalist; her mother, Maria, as a nurse.
Letizia went to La Gesta public school, and continued her studies at the Alfonso II Institute. Her family moved to Madrid when she was 14.
Letizia earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from the Complutense University of Madrid. She also earned a Master’s Degree in Audiovisual Journalism from the Institute for Audiovisual Journalism Studies.
As a student, Letizia began working at several newspapers and news agencies. She reported for a series of newspapers and ultimately worked within Spanish broadcast television.
Letizia became the anchor for the nightly news program Telediario, and even covered the 2000 U.S presidential election. Furthermore, she was awarded the Larra Prize by the Madrid Press Association for that year’s most outstanding journalist under 30.
Before meeting the love of her life, Letizia was married once. In 1998, she wed Guerrero Pérez. Sadly, they ended up getting a divorce only a year later.
The story goes that King Felipe had wanted to meet Letizia, and eventually managed to invite her to a dinner party through a journalist friend.
King Felipe and Queen Letizia dated in secret
Reports stated that Letizia handed over her number to the Prince. However, the two didn’t start dating until after a few more months.
In the years following, Letizia and Felipe started dating more seriously, though since he was the heir to the throne and she was a journalist, they decided to keep it a secret.
In 2003, Letizia said she was going on a vacation “with a friend.” This coincided with Prince Felipe rarely being seen at his royal summer residence in Mallorca.
It turned out that the two were spending time with each other in secret. In early November of 2003, a bombshell statement from the Royal Family was made public: Felipe and Letizia were engaged.
Queen Letizia’s engagement ring features a white gold band and 16 baguette-cut diamonds. She, meanwhile, gifted the King with white gold and sapphire cufflinks.
On May 22, 2004, the couple tied the knot at the Santa María la Real de la Almudena Cathedral in Madrid, with many Rroyal guests in attendance.
Threatened to renounce his right to the throne
With their marriage, Letizia became one of the few non-royals to become engaged and marry a royal.
On October 31, 2005, the couple welcomed daughter Leonor. Nearly two years later, Letizia gave birth to the couple’s second daughter, Sofia.
Looking back, it was hardly assured that King Felipe and Letizia would ever marry. Firstly, it was reported that then-King Juan Carlos didn’t like her at all; rumors claimed that he called Letizia “the enemy within.”
Moreover, King Juan Carlos wanted his son to wait another year before deciding if he wanted to marry Letizia or not. But Felipe had made his mind up. In fact, he threatened to walk away from the monarchy altogether if he couldn’t marry her.
“Felipe went to his father to ask permission to marry c with a letter renouncing his right to the throne in his pocket,” a member of another Royal family told Vanity Fair.
“And when his father suggested that he wait a year or so to make sure that she really was the right girl, he handed him the letter.
Juan Carlos asked Sofía, his wife, what they should do. She told him: “You have no choice. If you don’t acquiesce, it will be the end of the monarchy.”
Became King and Queen in 2014
Not only that but at one point, there were fears that the marriage couldn’t go through because of Queen Letizia’s first marriage.
If the Catholic church had performed Letizia’s previous marriage, the Vatican would have had to extend special permissions allowing her to marry Felipe, Yahoo report. Fortunately for the couple, Letizia’s first marriage was a civil one – and the couple was allowed to wed.
As Spain headed into the 2010s, the Royal Family was struck by a scandal. Juan Carlos’s reputation took a massive blow due to a corruption investigation, as well as an elephant-hunting trip he went on to Botswana in April 2012, right in the middle of Spain’s financial crisis.
In 2014, Juan Carlos decided to abdicate. After 44 years, Prince Felipe became King Felipe of Spain on June 19, 2014. Letizia, as a result, officially became Queen.
“I want to put into practice my firm and constant desire to adapt the institution to the times we are living in at each moment, leading a project that links our history with the future and that encompasses our traditions with a forward-thinking, progressive spirit,” Felipe said in Barcelona in 2011.
Since 2007, Letizia has devoted herself to helping children across Spain, with her main areas of work related to education and health.
She is prioritizing education for children between the ages of six and 16, promoting support for vocational training, reading comprehension, and promoting reading. She also works closely with activities to prevent educational failure and children leaving school early.
Living a normal family life
Queen Letizia also focuses on shining a light on those children who suffer from rare diseases, as well as looking to give support to families of victims fighting cancer. In 2010, she became the Honorary Presidency of the Spanish Association Against Cancer and its Scientific Foundation.
Unlike many other royals, King Felipe and Quen Lettizia do their utmost to live a normal life. Well, as normal as it can be, that is.
The two have often been seen taking their daughters on trips to the cinema. Contrary to the former King, Juan Carlos, who frequently held private screenings at their residence, Felipe and Letizia reportedly take their daughters to a public cinema.