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As King Felipe and Queen Letizia of Spain hit the U.K. for a three-day state visit, many people want a little more information about this glamorous Spanish royal.
Wonder no more, for we have come up with the ultimate explainer of the first commoner to become Spanish royalty.
Who is Queen Letizia?
Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano was born on Sept. 15, 1972, which makes her 44 years old. She was born to a middle-class family; her father was a journalist and her mother was a nurse. Her grandfather was a taxi driver.
Queen Letizia has two younger sisters, Temla and Erike. Sadly, Erike died in 2007 due to an intentional prescription drug overdose.
What did she do before marrying royalty?
Letizia followed in her father’s career footsteps, choosing to study journalism at a university in Spain. After obtaining her degree, she went on to get a master’s degree in audiovisual journalism.
From that point on, she worked for some of Spain’s most well-known newspapers and channels, from ABC and EFE to CNN+ and the Spanish version of Bloomberg. She also did a brief stint in Mexico, working for the newspaper Siglo 21.
In 2002, Letizia becamea news anchor, covering major stories including the Iraq War and 9/11. After working on news channel 24 Horas, she was eventually promoted to anchor of the most-watched news program in Spain: TVE’s daily evening news.
Has she been married before?
Yes. Letizia married writer and secondary schoolteacher Alonso Guerrero Perez in 1998 after 10 years of dating. They divorced just a year later.
How did she meet King Felipe?
The story surrounding Felipe and Letizia’s relationship is a little fuzzy. The only confirmed detail we could dig up is that the couple met in 2002 at a colleague’s dinner party.
When the two finally announced their engagement in November 2003, the country was in shock, because no one had any idea that Felipe — who was the Prince of Asturias at the time — even had a girlfriend.
There was also some controversy over Letizia being a divorcée. Luckily, her first marriage was a civil ceremony, so she did not require an annulment from the Catholic Church to marry Felipe.
According to reports, Letizia’s engagement ring was a 16-baguette diamond ring with white gold trim.
What was the couple’s wedding like?
Felipe and Letizia tied the knot on May 22, 2004. Their grand wedding was held in Madrid’s Cathedral Santa María la Real de la Almudena; the first time a royal wedding had ever been held in the cathedral.
Letizia wore a long-sleeved gown by Spanish designer Manuel Pertegaz, along with a sparkling tiara that resembled the Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding-day look.
The ceremony was broadcast to the nation and watched by millions. Celebrations went on for several days, with more than 1,600 guests attending the actual ceremony and 350 special guests invited to a gala dinner the night before at the Prado Palace.
When did Letizia become queen?
When Felipe’s father, Juan Carlos, abdicated the throne in June 2014, Letizia and Felipe rose to power, making her the first Spanish queen born a commoner.
Since then, she has traveled with her husband and alone across Spain and Europe, and to countries including Mexico, Jordan, the United States, Japan, China, and Brazil.
Does she have children?
The royal couple’s first daughter, Leonor, was born on Oct. 31, 2005. Their second daughter, Sofia, arrived on April 29, 2007.
The 10-year-old and the 11-year-old are regularly seen with their parents on trips abroad.
What causes does she support?
Just as the Duchess of Cambridge supports children’s charities and mental health organizations, Queen Letizia focuses on a number of social issues, including children’s rights, culture, and education.
In 2015, she was also named Special Ambassador for Nutrition for the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.
What’s her wardrobe like?
Queen Letizia’s style is both modern and classic, mixing bold vibrant colors with on-trend details, including pussybow blouses and tweed.
She relies on a number of American brands that are known for their stylish work wear, including Carolina Herrera, Altuzarra, and Hugo Boss.
The royal is also a fan of High Street stores, having been regularly spotted making thrifty purchases from the likes of Mango and Zara.
Unlike most other royals, Queen Letizia has shoes made specially for her by Spanish label Magrit. No designer stilettos for this queen.
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