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Princess Leonor receives Order of the Golden Fleece in official ceremony

Her Royal Highness Leonor, Princess of Asturias received her Order of the Golden Fleece in an official ceremony yesterday. Her father King Felipe presented her with the Order on the occasion of his 50th birthday.

Along with the King and Princess, in attendance were members of the Spanish Royal Family, Queen Letizia, Infanta Sofía, King Juan Carlos, Queen Sofía, Infanta Elena (sister of King Felipe), Infanta Margarita (younger sister of King Juan Carlos) and her husband, Carlos Zurita.

Queen Letizia’s parents and Leonor‘s grandparents, Jesús Ortiz and Paloma Rocasolano, also attended the special event along with members of the Spanish government.

After the playing of the National Anthem by a string quartet and the reading of the Royal Decree, Princess Leonor joined her father where the collar was displayed. There, he pinned the Order pin to the left side of her chest. 12-year-old Leonor then kissed her father on both cheeks before performing a deep curtsy. She then did the same with her mother, Queen Letizia, grandfather, King Juan Carlos and grandmother, Queen Sofía. The latter looked on the verge of tears as her granddaughter was bestowed the honour.

The Princess of Asturias, the first Spanish woman to receive the honour, then greeted her maternal grandparents and other members of the Royal Family before returning to her seat.

Princess Leonor curtsying to her father. © Casa de S.M. el Rey

His Majesty next spoke stating, “Today, the Princess of Asturias receives the Golden Fleece Collar, deeply rooted in the History of Spain and Europe. An Order that for centuries has been granted -among others and singularly- to the Prince or Princess of Asturias from a very young age, so that over time he or she knows, little by little, the traditions and duties of the Crown and understands the responsibilities that one day he or she will have to assume.”

Leonor greeting her aunt, Infanta Elena during the ceremony. © Casa de S.M. el Rey

He then addressed Leonor stressing that receiving the Order “implies special responsibilities for you, which you must assume inspired by the deepest values and ideals; values that you must hold and strengthen day by day in your heart. Because your actions -all of them- should be guided by the greater sense of dignity and exemplarity, by honesty and integrity, by the capacity for renunciation and sacrifice, by the permanent spirit of improvement, and by your unreserved dedication to your country and your people.

“You must respect others, their ideas and beliefs; and you will love the culture, the arts and the sciences because they give us the best human dimension to be better and help to progress in our society. You will be guided permanently by the Constitution, fulfilling and observing it; you will serve Spain with humility and awareness of your institutional position; and you will make yours all the worries and joys, all the wishes and feelings of the Spaniards.”

A reception was held afterwards for guests who included 20 winning children of the last three editions of the contest “What is a King for you?”

Their Majesties and Their Royal Highnesses with the winners. © Casa de S.M. el Rey

If, as expected, Leonor ascends the throne, she will be Spain’s first queen regnant since Isabella II was monarch from 1833 to 1868.

King Felipe later tweeted his thanks for the many birthday messages he received yesterday saying, “Heartfelt thanks for all the congratulations I have received today. Each strengthens me in my day to day commitment to all Spaniards. And I take this opportunity to also congratulate those who today share with me this birthday.”

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