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Is Spain’s monarchy about to see a crucial member retire? A look at the future of Queen Sofia

Casa de S.M. el Rey

Queen Sofía of Spain celebrated her 85th birthday just two days after her granddaughter turned 18-years-old. The coincidence of these two milestones has many speculating over the future of the Greek Princess who came to Spain with no throne. 

Even after the abdication of her husband in 2014 and the subsequent accession of her son Felipe to the throne of Spain, Queen Sofía maintained a central role within the family, supporting her son and daughter-in-law’s agendas, as well as maintaining her own, focused on several of the causes closest to her heart. 

She was a fixed presence at the Princess of Asturias Awards, even before her granddaughter started attending as the foundation’s Honorary President, and, contrary to her husband, she continued enjoying popularity among the Spanish people, thanks to her constant work and hew low spending profile. 

Meanwhile, she has been making increasingly frequent trips to Greece to be with her brother and sister, neither of whom seems to be in as good health as she is; King Constantine passed away in January after suffering repeated strokes, and Princess Irene is seen in public as increasingly fragile, which is why it looks like Queen Sofía has decided to bring her to Spain. 

Although Parliament made it clear that they would not approve of a visit from King Juan Carlos, even if it were just to attend his granddaughter’s big day, many expected Queen Sofía to still be present for the event, which is why it came as a surprise that she decided not to attend. 

Her decision, she explained, was motivated by the desire not to create differences between grandparents, demonstrating once again her high sense of statehood – a presence that Princess Leonor undoubtedly missed, however. 

And now, on the 2nd of November, the former Spanish consort turned 85, and, despite still enjoying good health, many are wondering if her choice not to attend the public portion of Princess Leonor’s big day has anything to do with a desire to slow down her public agenda, and to instead turn her focus on her family.

It is highly unlikely that we will ever see her join her husband in Abu Dhabi, where he took up residence in 2020 to escape some investigations and questions about his financial decisions (which is why Parliament does not appreciate his presence); instead, it seems that Queen Sofía will remain in Madrid, where she has been residing ever since her husband was nominated King by General Franco. 

She will enjoy some much-deserved time in retirement and dedicate herself to taking care of her Greek family while at the same time doing her best to keep supporting her son in his everyday Herculean task of restoring faith in the monarchy.