His Majesty King Felipe of Spain is to present his older daughter Leonor, Princess of Asturias with her Order of the Golden Fleece at an official ceremony at Madrid’s Royal Palace on 30 January in celebration of the King’s 50th birthday.
Leonor, who was also awarded her own personal standard and guidon, was granted the order on 30 October 2015 – the day before her 10th birthday by His Majesty. Her Royal Highness is the 201st Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece and the first and latest to be granted the honour under the reign of Felipe VI.
According to El País, King Felipe awarded Leonor the Order for “reasons of tradition and continuity and the desire to institutionalise the figure of the Princess of Asturias as heiress of the Crown.”
The Order of the Golden Fleece, called Orden del Toisón de Oro in Spanish, is one of the oldest honours in Europe being founded in 1430. It is the highest distinction that can be awarded by the King of Spain, and before the reign of King Juan Carlos I, it was only granted to men.
Over 1,200 have been granted the honour since its inception. It remains the property of the Order and has to be returned upon the death of the honouree.
In celebration of her 12th birthday last October, the first official portrait of the Princess was released by Casa Real. It was taken on Spain’s National Day at the Royal Palace of Madrid by Francisco Gómez. The family’s Christmas card photo was also taken on that day.
Princess Leonor is just a year younger than her father was when he was awarded his Order of the Golden Fleece when he was 13 on 3 May 1981 by his father, King Juan Carlos.
If, as expected, Leonor ascends the throne, she will be Spain’s first queen regnant since Isabella II was monarch from 1833 to 1868.