Queen Letizia is one of the most fashionable consorts in the world who once graced tv screens as a journalist. So, who is the reporter turned Queen consort of Spain?
Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano was born on 15 September 1972 in Oviedo, Asturias, Spain to Jesús José Ortiz Álvarez and María de la Paloma Rocasolano Rodríguez. She is the eldest of three daughters of the couple; her sisters are Telma (b. 1973) and the late Érika (1975-2007). Her youngest sister died of a reported drug overdose; an autopsy was performed, and the Spanish media reported it was suicide.
Letizia was christened on 29 September 1972 at the Cristo de las Cadenas Chapel; her maternal uncle and paternal aunt are her godparents. Her First Holy Communion came when she was eight years old, on 16 May 1981.
The future queen’s education occurred at the La Gesta School and the Alfonso II Institute in Oviedo. She moved with her family to Madrid when she was 14 and enrolled at Ramiro de Maeztu High School. Letizia graduated in 1990.
Not as athletic as she was artistic, Letizia enjoyed music and ballet while growing up. Perhaps hinting at her future profession as a successful journalist, she was said to be quite intelligent and articulate. Letizia, who was a restless child, also struggled with science-related courses.
Her love of journalism came from her grandmother, with whom she spent time at the headquarters of the Radio Oviedo after school; she also took part in the El Columpio radio show by age ten, airing on Saturday mornings. The show was on Radio Antena 3, run by her father’s small production company. He allowed his two oldest daughters and other children to prepare and present the radio programme; this, too, prepared Letizia for what she would do while working for EFE and CNN+.
Letizia studied journalism at the Complutense University of Madrid and later got a master’s degree in audiovisual journalism from the Institute for Studies in Audiovisual Journalism. She gained experience in the field while at university by working at the newspapers La Nueva España and ABC and the Spanish international news agency EFE.
After Letizia graduated, she moved to Mexico, where she worked for the newspaper Siglo 21; while there, she began studying for her doctorate degree, but she did not complete the courses.
The future consort returned to Spain and worked at Spain’s Bloomberg and then CNN as a reporter, editor, and broadcaster. She worked on special programmes and was dispatched across the world to report on significant events, including the 9/11 attacks in the United States and the 2000 US presidential election.
Casa Real has said about her career, “She was an editor in the society, education and science department, and later once again joined the editing team of Telediario Segunda Edición, which she co-anchored.”
She dated high school teacher Alonso Guerrero Pérez for ten years; the pair met while she was in high school. They married in a civil ceremony in 1999 but divorced a year later. By 2003, news broke in Spain that Felipe, the Prince of Asturias, was engaged to Letizia. It was a shock to Spaniards as the couple had successfully dated in secret.
Letizia received a white gold 16-baguette diamond ring from Felipe, and she gave him a classic book and white and gold cufflinks for the engagement. Letizia’s first marriage was not considered canonically valid as a civil ceremony, which enabled her and the future King to marry in the Catholic Church.
The pair married on 22 May 2004 in Madrid at the Cathedral Santa María la Real de la Almudena, with Letizia becoming a princess upon the marriage. The wedding occurred less than two months after the Madrid terror attacks, and the couple honoured victims at the ceremony. It was the first royal wedding for the Cathedral Santa María la Real de la Almudena, and it had been almost a century since Madrid had hosted a royal wedding.
The couple now has two daughters – Leonor (31 October 2005) and Sofía (29 April 2007).
Letizia became Queen consort upon her father-in-law, King Juan Carlos’s abdication in favour of Felipe on 19 June 2014. From that point on, she became Queen Letizia of Spain.
Letizia is an active queen, attending many events monthly ranging from cancer, ALS and journalism while raising her two daughters as far away from the spotlight as possible. She is also helping to prepare her older daughter, Leonor (now Princess of Asturias), for her future role as queen regnant.