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Queen Letizia in mourning for her beloved grandmother


The Queen of Spain has lost one of the most influential figures in her life. Queen Letizia’s grandmother, Menchu Alvarez del Valle, has died at the age of 93.

Letizia was extremely close to her paternal grandmother and followed in her footsteps as a journalist. The bond between them was evident on the day that Letizia Ortiz married into the Spanish Royal Family as Menchu gave a reading at her granddaughter’s wedding.

She was also close to Letizia’s two daughters, the Princess of Asturias and Infanta Sofia.

Maria del Carmen Alvarez del Valle was born in 1928 in Santander but moved to Oviedo in Asturias at a young age. It was there she began her career in journalism. She worked extensively in radio and broadcast on stations including Radio Asturias and Radio Nacional de Espana.

In 1949, she married Jose Luis Ortiz Velasco with whom she had two daughters and a son, Jesus Jose Ortiz Alvarez, who is the father of Queen Letizia. Both Jesus and Letizia went on to be journalists.

Menchu Alvarez del Valle became one of the best known voices in Spanish radio and retired in 1990. Over a decade later, she watched her granddaughter marry the then heir to the Spanish throne, Felipe, at the Almudena Cathedral in Madrid. She remained a major influence on Letizia following her royal wedding.

Queen Letizia is understood to currently be in Madrid. Her husband, King Felipe VI, has just arrived in Peru to attend the swearing in of the country’s president.

About author

Lydia Starbuck is Associate Editor at Royal Central and the main producer and presenter of the Royal Central Podcast and Royal Central Extra. Lydia is also a pen name of June Woolerton, a journalist and writer with over twenty years experience in TV, radio, print and online. June has been a reporter, producer and editor, picking up several awards over the years. She's appeared on outlets including BBC 5 Live, BBC Radio Ulster and BBC Local Radio and has also helped set up a commercial radio station. June is also an accomplished writer with a wide range of material published online and in print. She is the author of two novels, published as e-books. She is also a marriage registrar and ceremony celebrant.