Spain’s future queen comes of age today, meaning she can carry out official duties and represent her father, King Felipe, at official functions. This also means she would no longer need a regent if her father were to die or abdicate the throne.
Let’s look at Leonor, Princess of Asturias, on her special day.
She was born on 31 October 2005 to the Prince and Princess of Asturias, now King Felipe and Queen Letizia of Spain, at the Ruber International Hospital in Madrid by caesarian section due to the lack of progression in labour. The birth announcement was sent out through text message to the press, and she left the hospital with her parents on 7 November.
As first in line to the throne, Leonor is only heir presumptive, due to Spanish succession laws, instead of the heir apparent. This means if Felipe and Letizia were to have a son, he would be first in line and claim the title Prince of Asturias. Leonor would then revert to being referred to as Infanta Leonor.Embed from Getty Images
Leonor, whose full name is Leonor de Todos los Santos de Borbón y Ortiz, was christened on 14 January 2006 at Zarzuela Palace in Madrid. Her godparents were King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofía, her paternal grandparents. In keeping with tradition, water from the River Jordan was used in the christening.
Leonor was joined by a younger sister, Infanta Sofía, in April 2007.
The Princess is said to be much like her father – responsible, formal, curious and calm. Her sister is said to be more rambunctious.
The daycare of the Spanish Royal Guard is where Leonor first began her schooling. On 15 September 2008, she started elementary school at the same school her father attended, Santa María de los Rosales School in Aravaca, Spain, where her younger sister Sofía also attended.Embed from Getty Images
Due to her future role as monarch, she also takes additional classes at home to prepare her for her future role. The King and Queen attempt to have breakfast and dinner with their daughters each night and explain to both about matters going on in the country. For example, Leonor was made very well aware of the situation in Catalonia regarding independence.
Aside from her native Spanish, Leonor is also fluent in English and is familiar with the other languages spoken in Spain. Reportedly, she also took lessons in Mandarin.
She became the heir to the Spanish throne upon the abdication of her grandfather, King Juan Carlos, on 19 June 2014.
On 20 May 2015, she received her First Holy Communion. The Princess was said to be active in ballet like her mother was around the same age. Additionally, she enjoys horseback riding and is a decent skier.
By September 2021, Leonor enrolled at United World College of the Atlantic in Wales, where she graduated with her International Baccalaureate in May 2023 alongside Princess Alexia of the Netherlands.
Besides the title of Princess of Asturias, she also holds The Princess of Girona, The Princess of Viana, Duchess of Montblanc, Countess of Cervera and Lady of Balaguer. Her father awarded her the honour of being a member of the Order of the Golden Fleece for her 10th birthday. She was also awarded her own personal standard and guidon, which was approved by the Council of Ministers.
In January 2018, her father presented Leonor with the Order of the Golden Fleece to coincide with his 50th birthday. Later that year, on her 13th birthday, she gave her first public address when she read from the Spanish Constitution to mark its 40th anniversary.
In 2019, she attended the Princess of Asturias Awards for the first time and gave her first speech where she promised to serve Spain.
Since then, she has been in the public eye increasingly, with her first solo engagement coming in 2021. Leonor and Sofía undertake joint engagements when both are in Spain, and Leonor has been undergoing military training since August 2023. She will train in each military branch in preparation for her future role as head of the Armed Forces.
On her 18th birthday, she will swear allegiance to the Spanish Constitution and be invested as a Knight Grand Cross with Collar of the Order of Charles III. A private party for the Spanish Royal Family will occur in the evening.
If, as expected, Leonor ascends the throne, she will be Spain’s first queen regnant since Isabella II was monarch from 1833 to 1868.