Queen Letizia of Spain

Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano (Spanish pronunciation: [leˈtiθja oɾˈtiθ]; born 15 September 1972) is the current Queen of Spain as the wife of King Felipe VI.

Letizia Ortiz
Queen Letizia in 2018
Queen consort of Spain
Tenure19 June 2014 – present
BornLetizia Ortiz Rocasolano
(1972-09-15) 15 September 1972
Oviedo, Asturias, Spain
Alonso Guerrero Pérez
(m. 1998; div. 1999)

FatherJesús José Ortiz Álvarez
MotherMaría Paloma Rocasolano Rodríguez
ReligionRoman Catholic

Letizia Ortiz came from a middle-class family and worked as a journalist for ABC and EFE before becoming a news anchor at CNN+ and Televisión Española. In 2003, it was announced that she was engaged to marry Felipe, then Prince of Asturias and heir apparent to the Spanish throne. They married in 2004. Their daughters, Leonor and Sofía, were born in 2005 and 2007 respectively. As Princess of Asturias, Letizia represented her father-in-law, King Juan Carlos, in Spain and abroad. On her father-in-law's abdication in 2014, Felipe and Letizia became King and Queen of Spain.


Letizia was born in Oviedo, Asturias, to a middle-class family.[1] She is the eldest daughter of Jesús José Ortiz Álvarez, a journalist, and his first wife, María de la Paloma Rocasolano Rodríguez, a registered nurse and hospital union representative.[2] She has two younger sisters, Telma (b. 1973) and Érika (1975–2007), whose death was widely reported by press as due to an intentional prescription drug overdose.[3]

Her parents divorced in 1999 and her father remarried in Madrid on 18 March 2004 to fellow journalist Ana Togores.[4][5]

Letizia's paternal grandparents were José Luis Ortiz Velasco (ca. 1923–2005), a commercial employee at Olivetti;[6] and María del Carmen "Menchu" Álvarez del Valle (born 1928), a radio broadcaster in Asturias for over 40 years. Her maternal grandfather was Francisco Julio Rocasolano Camacho (1918–2015), a mechanic and cab driver in Madrid for over 20 years who was of French and Occitan origin.[7][8][9] Letizia's maternal grandmother, Enriqueta Rodriguez Figueredo (1919–2008) was born in the Philippines to Spanish parents.[10][11][12]

British genealogists have provided evidence that through her mother's Rocasolano lineage, Letizia descends from Astorg Roquesoulane (died c.1564) and her coat-of-arms incorporates the arms of the Rocasolano family.[12][13][14] Reports have suggested – and remain unproven – that on her paternal grandfather's side, Letizia is a descendant of an untitled family descended from medieval nobility who served as Constables of Castile.[15]

Education and career

Letizia attended La Gesta School in Oviedo, before her family moved to Rivas-Vaciamadrid[16] near Madrid, where she attended high school at the Ramiro de Maeztu High School.[17] She completed a bachelor's degree in journalism, at the Complutense University of Madrid, as well as a master's degree in audiovisual journalism at the Institute for Studies in Audiovisual Journalism.[18]

During her studies, Letizia worked for the Asturian daily newspaper La Nueva España and later for the newspaper ABC and the news agency EFE.[17][18] After completing her master's degree, she travelled to Guadalajara, Mexico, working at the newspaper Siglo 21 and was working on her PhD; however, she didn't complete her doctoral thesis because she returned to Spain.[19] After returning to Spain, she worked for the Spanish version of the economic channel Bloomberg before moving to the news network CNN+.[18]

In 2000, she moved to TVE, where she started working for the news channel 24 Horas. In 2002, she anchored the weekly news report programme Informe Semanal and later the daily morning news programme Telediario Matinal on TVE 1.[17][18] In August 2003, a few months before her engagement to Felipe, Letizia was promoted to anchor of the TVE daily evening news programme Telediario 2, the most viewed newscast in Spain.[20] In 2000, Letizia reported from Washington, D.C., on the presidential elections. In September 2001, she broadcast live from Ground Zero following the 9/11 attacks in New York and in 2003, she filed reports from Iraq following the war.[1] In 2002 she sent several reports from Galicia in northern Spain following the ecological disaster when the oil tanker Prestige sank.[21]

First marriage

Letizia married Alonso Guerrero Pérez (born in 1962), a writer and a high-school literature teacher, on 7 August 1998, in a simple civil ceremony at Almendralejo, in Badajoz, after a 10-year courtship.[22] The marriage was dissolved by divorce in 1999.[1]

Second marriage and children

On 1 November 2003, to the surprise of many, the Royal Household announced Letizia's engagement to Felipe, then Prince of Asturias.[18] Afterwards, she moved to live in a wing of the Zarzuela Palace until the day of her wedding.[23] The Prince of Asturias had proposed to her with a 16-baguette diamond engagement ring with a white gold trim. She marked the occasion by giving him white gold and sapphire cufflinks and a classic book.[24]

The wedding took place on 22 May 2004 in the Cathedral Santa María la Real de la Almudena in Madrid.[25] It was the first royal wedding in this cathedral. It had been nearly a century since the capital celebrated a royal wedding, as the prince's parents married in Athens, and his sisters, Infanta Elena and Infanta Cristina, married in Seville and Barcelona respectively. Letizia's bridal gown was designed by Spanish fashion designer Manuel Pertegaz, her bridal shoes by Pura López; and the veil, a gift from Felipe to his bride, was made of off-white silk tulle and hand-embroidered with detailing.[26] As Letizia's previous marriage involved only a civil ceremony, the Catholic Church does not consider it canonically valid and therefore did not require an annulment to proceed with a Catholic marriage to the Prince of Asturias.[27]

Letizia and Felipe have two daughters: Leonor, Princess of Asturias, born on 31 October 2005;[28] and Infanta Sofía, born on 29 April 2007. They were born at Ruber International Hospital in Madrid.[29]

Princess of Asturias

Princess Letizia immediately joined in the duties of her husband and traveled extensively through Spain representing her father-in-law. They also represented Spain in other countries: she has traveled along with her husband to Jordan, Mexico, Peru, Hungary, the Dominican Republic, Panama, the United States of America, Serbia, Brazil, Uruguay, Sweden, Denmark, Japan, China, and Portugal. She also greeted international dignitaries, along with other members of the royal family, and attended gatherings of foreign royalty in Luxembourg, for the silver wedding anniversary of the Grand Duke and Grand Duchess of Luxembourg, and in the Netherlands for the 40th birthday of the Prince of Orange.[30]

Her solo agenda was announced in 2006, shortly after the announcement of her second pregnancy. Letizia has performed a couple of audiences and her work focuses on social issues such as children rights, culture, and education. In late 2007, her solo agenda started to grow in the quantity of events she performed by herself and Felipe's and Letizia's agendas became more distinct and separate.[31] Letizia supported Spanish designers, from couturiers such as Felipe Varela and Lorenzo Caprile to Zara and Mango,[32] and continues to as queen consort.

Queen of Spain

On 19 June 2014, Letizia became Queen of Spain; as such, she holds the style of Majesty.[33] She is the first Spanish-born queen consort since Mercedes of Orléans, the first wife of Alfonso XII.[34] She is also the first Spanish queen to have been born as a commoner.[1] Queen Letizia undertook her first solo engagement as queen on 23 June 2014 at the inauguration of the El Greco and modern painting exhibition at the National Prado museum in Madrid.[35]

In their first overseas trip as king and queen, Felipe VI and Letizia met Pope Francis on 30 June 2014, in the Apostolic Palace. They later met with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by Mgsr. Antoine Camilleri, under-secretary for Relations with States. The visit followed one by King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofia on 28 April.[36] In 2015, Letizia was named Special Ambassador for Nutrition for the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.[37]

Letizia and Felipe and the princesses still reside at the residence where they have lived since 2004. It is stated that the Palace of Zarzuela is a working place only for Felipe.[38]

In March 2016, leaked text messages between Letizia and businessman Javier Lopez Madrid created a controversy. Together with other executives and board members of the Caja Madrid and Bankia financial group, Madrid had been accused of corruption. In October 2014 Letizia pledged her support for him, texting "We know who you are and you know who we are. We know each other, like each other, respect each other. To hell with the rest. Kisses yoga mate (miss you!!!)". Felipe also joined in, texting "We do indeed!" Publication of the texts by the newspaper El Diario threatened to undo the line Felipe had drawn between himself and the scandal of Infanta Cristina and her husband, as well as questions over the origins of ex-King Juan Carlos's private fortune. A palace official subsequently stated that the King and Queen were no longer friends with Madrid due to his legal issues.[39][40]

Titles and honours

At the time of her marriage to Prince Felipe, Letizia was appointed to the Grand Cross of the Royal and Distinguished Order of Charles III as dame on 21 May 2004.[41] Since then, Letizia has received different appointments and decorations by foreign states and other Spanish honours.


  1. Castillo, Raquel (19 June 2014). "Former journalist Letizia Ortiz becomes Spain's first commoner queen". Reuters. Retrieved 8 October 2014.
  2. "Paloma Rocasolano, enlace sindical" (in Spanish). ES: Diario de Navarra. Archived from the original on 16 February 2007.
  3. "Una muerte por ingestión de pastillas". El País (in Spanish) (impresa ed.). ES. 9 February 2007.
  4. "Jesús Ortiz, el discreto consuegro del Rey" (in Spanish). ES: Diario de Navarra. Archived from the original on 22 May 2007.
  5. "Princess Letizia , Spain". © by Womenfitness.net 1999-2016. All rights reserved. Retrieved 23 February 2015. Her parents divorced in 1999 and her father remarried ... in Madrid on 18 March 2004 to fellow journalist Ana Togores N, born ca. 1955.
  6. "Jesús Ortiz: 'Como abuelo me siento emocionado'". El Periódico (in Spanish). Aragón, ES.
  7. "Birth date of her maternal grandfather". El Mundo (in Spanish). ES.
  8. "Muere el abuelo materno de la Reina Letizia". ABC (in Spanish). ES.
  9. "Princess Letizia of Spain". © by Womenfitness.net 1999-2016. All rights reserved. Retrieved 27 February 2016. Her maternal grandparents are Francisco Julio Rocasolano Camacho (Madrid, 21 July 1918 –), a mechanic and a cab driver in Madrid for over 20 years, and half-Filipino wife (m. 1950) Enriqueta Rodríguez Figueredo (Oviedo, 2 March 1919 – Madrid, 22 June 2008); by her maternal grandfather she (Letizia) is of French and Occitan origin.
  10. "A Filipino in the palace?". manilastandardtoday.com. Retrieved 27 February 2016. Through her maternal grandmother, Enriqueta Rodriguez Figueredo, is half Filipino......But she doesn’t really have Filipino blood coursing through her veins. Letizia’s Filipino connection is merely geographical. To understand this, we must remember that during colonial times, there was a caste system. Native Filipinos (those of pure Austronesian ancestry) were called indio. The label “Filipino” was reserved for the insulares, or people of pure Spanish descent born in the Philippines....By her maternal grandfather, Francisco Julio Rocasolano Camacho, she is of French and Occitan origin
  11. "Birth date of her maternal grandmother". El Mundo (in Spanish). ES. 2008.
  12. "Ancestry of Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano". Wargs.
  13. (in Spanish) Armas de Doña Letizia, Revista Internacional de Protocolo, ISSN 1135-9692, Number 33, 2004, pp. 64–65
  14. (in Spanish)Label’s position correction by RIAG, Registro Internacional de Armas Gentilicias Archived 7 August 2009 at the Wayback Machine. (Retrieved 17 June 2009)
  15. Kenny, Mary. "How the younger breed of Royals is moving centre stage". Belfast Telegraph 9 August 2014. Retrieved 23 February 2016. ... on her paternal grandfather's side she is a descendant of an untitled family descended from mediaeval nobility who served as Constables of Castile...
  16. Cuartas, Javier. "La vida desconocida de una cara muy popular" (in Spanish). Madrid: El País. Retrieved 15 July 2017.
  17. – El traslado de su familia a Madrid marcó la dirección de su vida
  18. The Royal Household of His Majesty the King – Her Royal Highness the Princess of Asturias Archived 8 July 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  19. "Letizia y México: otra historia de amor" (in Spanish). BBC. 12 May 2004. Retrieved 3 May 2018.
  20. "Letizia, una reina que presentó el Telediario y enseñó a utilizar el Euro Leer más: Letizia, una reina que presentó el Telediario y enseñó a utilizar el Euro". Retrieved 8 October 2014.
  21. DeClerq, Katherine (10 June 2014). "Meet Letizia Ortiz: Spain's new 'middle-class Queen'". CTVNews.ca. Retrieved 9 October 2014.
  22. "Prefiere los pantalones a la falda". Diario de Navarra. Archived from the original on 14 October 2014.
  23. "Boda Real – Palacio de la Zarzuela". El Mundo.
  24. "Crown jewels: The fabulous rings which sealed the love of Europe's royal couples". HELLO! magazine. UK.
  25. Wilkinson, Isambard (22 May 2004). "Fiesta spirit returns for royal wedding". telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  26. de Luis-Orueta, Fernando (22 May 2004). "Vestido piramidal con bordados de motivos heráldicos". El Pais (in Spanish). Retrieved 4 June 2017.
  27. Saunders, Doug (22 May 2004). "Marriage lets Madrid smile again". Saturday's Globe and Mail. Retrieved 12 June 2016.
  28. "Spain's future queen gives birth". BBC News. 31 October 2005. Retrieved 15 May 2016.
  29. "Spanish crown princess has second daughter". Reuters. 29 April 2007. Retrieved 15 May 2016.
  30. "Los Príncipes acuden a la fiesta del 40º cumpleaños de Guillermo de Holanda". El Pais (in Spanish). 2 September 2007. Retrieved 4 June 2017.
  31. Maria G. Valdez (2 June 2014). "Who Will Be Next King, Queen Of Spain? 19 Things To Know About Prince Felipe, Princess Letizia Of Asturias". latintimes. Retrieved 9 October 2014.
  32. "Princess Letizia's Wardrobe". Princess Letizias Wardrobe.
  33. "Casa de Su Majestad el Rey de España - Her Majesty the Queen Letizia". Casa de Su Majestad el Rey. Archived from the original on 22 June 2014.
  34. Silva, Daniel (3 June 2014). "The Granddaughter Of A Taxi Driver Will Become Spain's Next Queen". businessinsider.com. AFP. Retrieved 9 October 2014.
  35. Galaz, Mábel (23 June 2014). "La reina Letizia inicia su nueva agenda con una visita al Prado". El Pais (in Spanish). Retrieved 4 June 2017.
  36. "Comunicato della Sala Stampa: Udienza alle Loro Maestà il Re Felipe VI e la Regina Letizia di Spagna, 30.06.2014" (in Italian). Vatican City. 30 June 2014.
  37. "Queen Letizia of Spain, FAO Special Ambassador for Nutrition". nmultimedia.org. Retrieved 19 June 2015.
  38. "Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia of Spain: a closer look at the future king and queen's home". hellomagazine. Retrieved 9 October 2014.
  39. "Spain's monarchy drawn into banking scandal". The Guardian. Agence France-Press. 9 March 2016.
  40. Sykes, Tom (19 March 2016). "Texting Scandal Rocks Spain's King and Queen". Daily Beast.
  41. BOE Number 124, pp. 19314-19314 (in Spanish) 22 May 2004. (Retrieved 13 September 2015)
Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano
Born: 15 September 1972
Spanish royalty
Preceded by
Sophia of Greece and Denmark
Queen consort of Spain
19 June 2014 – present
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