Who is the Princess of Asturias? And why is Spain gripped by ‘Leonormania’? This heir to the throne will be the first Queen for 150 years. And she’s handy with a rifle…
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‘Leonormania’ has taken hold as Spain prepares to mark the 18th birthday Princess Leonor, heir to the throne, with a major state ceremony.
Speculation has been mounting as to who has been invited on Tuesday when the Princess of Astorias, as she is formally titled, with swear allegiance to the Spanish constitution.
Despite sharp political divisions, reports from Spain suggest the country is largely united behind the young princess, who is currently undergoing military training as Cadet Borbon.
Recent changes to primogeniture rules mean we can also expect queens on the throne in a number of European countries, including Sweden, Belgium, the Netherlands and Norway. Queen Margrethe is currently sovereign of Denmark.
The law hasn’t changed in Spain, where the monarchy still favours the first-born boy. But it seems unlikely that Leonor will get a little brother at this stage.
Princess Leonor of Spain turns 18 this week. She will be one of half a dozen European queens in the coming decades
Princess Leonor participates in the offering of cadets to the Virgin of Pilar in the basilica of the patron saint of Hispanity at the General Military Academy of Zaragoza in October 2023
If Leonor ascends to the throne, she will make history as Spain’s first queen regnant since Isabella II
Princess Leonor smiles over at Meryl Streep at the Princess of Asturias Awards this year
Queen Letizia of Spain and Crown Princess Leonor of Spain attend a concert ahead of the “Princesa De Asturias” Awards 2023
Speaking last week, the princess described the oaths swearing as an honour: ‘I very well understand and am aware of what my duty is and what my responsibilities entail,’ she told the Spanish public.
Born on October 31, 2005, in the Ruber International Hospital in Madrid, Leonor is the eldest daughter of King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain and is formally titled Princess of Asturias.
If Leonor ascends to the throne, she will make history as Spain’s first queen regnant since her fourth great-grandmother Isabella II, who reigned from 1833 to 1868. She will be only the second Queen in the history of unified Spain.
Princess Leonor was born in the in the Ruber International Hospital in Madrid in 2005
King Felipe with his daughter Princess Leonor during their summer holidays in 2006
Felipe and Letizia with their daughter on her first day at school in 2008
Following Leonor in the line of succession is her sister, Princess Sofía, two years her junior.
The princess gave her first public speech in 2018 when she was just 13 years old to mark the 40th anniversary of the Spanish constitution.
In 2019, she delivered an impressive speech at the Princess of Girona Foundation Awards in Barcelona in four languages – Spanish, Catalan, English and Arabic.
As well as inheriting her mother’s polished sense of style, she has reportedly learned how to play tennis, sail, perform gymnastics, and play the cello.
The royal made her first solo appearance without her mother and father aged 15 as she presided over the Cervantes Institute’s 30th anniversary in Madrid in 2021.
She was welcomed by the then Deputy Prime Minister, Carmen Calvo and the director of the Cervantes Institute, Luis García Montero, sitting front row at the event.
Princess Leonor pledging allegiance to the flag as she officially begins three years of military training to prepare for her future as the country’s head of state
King Felipe and his daughter Crown Princess Leonor salute the flag during the Spanish National Day military parade in Madrid, October 2023
Six months later, the princess headed to Wales to study at the private Atlantic College.
Leonor enrolled on a £67,000, two-year course to study for her International Baccalaureate diploma at the school, which she has now completed.
Meanwhile, Leonor has recently been at the General Military Academy in Zaragoza as she embarks upon three years of training.
In preparation for her role as Spain’s head of state and commander-in-chief of the armed forces, Leonor must complete the three years in line with tradition as she follows the path of her father, King Felipe.
After training at the General Military Academy in Zaragoza, which is Spain’s equivalent to Sandhurst, she will go to naval school and will complete her three years at the General Air Academy.
The composed princess gave her first public speech in 2018 when she was 13 years old to mark the 40th anniversary of the Spanish constitution
Following Leonor in the line of succession is her sister, Infanta Sofía, (right) who is two years her junior
As well as inheriting her mother’s polished sense of style, she has reportedly learned how to play tennis, sail, perform gymnastics, and play the cello
Spanish King Felipe VI and his daughter Princess Leonor pictured as they pose in the gardens at the Marivent palace on the island of Majorca in August 2019
Princess Leonor at UWC Atlantic College in the Vale of Glamorgan, where she studied for two years
Leonor has recently been at the General Military Academy in Zaragoza as she embarks upon three years of training
She’s set to become commander-in-chief of the armed forces once she is the Spanish monarch
The princess revealed her enthusiasm for soon being a cadet at the Princesa de Girona Foundation award ceremony in Girona, Catalonia, on July 5.
She said: ‘I have just finished high school and I am about to start a new stage with a period of military training.
‘I am happy because I know how much the Spanish value our armed forces… it is an important moment in my life and I feel very excited and determined to continue learning and giving my best effort.’
It was also revealed that the young Princess would go on to study law at university once her training with the military is complete, although her choice of university has not yet been revealed.
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