Queen Letizia of Spain, who is coming on a state visit to the UK, is a former TV anchorwoman who became Spain’s first “commoner Queen”

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Spanish King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia visit the earthquake disaster prevention center in the central Japan city of Shizuoka, accompanied by Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, on April 7, 2017.
Spanish King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia visit the earthquake disaster prevention center in the central Japan city of Shizuoka, accompanied by Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, on April 7, 2017.

Who is Queen Letizia of Spain? From TV anchorwoman to Spain’s first ‘commoner queen’

Queen Letizia of Spain, who is coming on a state visit to the UK, is a former TV anchorwoman who became Spain’s first “commoner Queen”.

The stunning wife of King Felipe VI will meet her royal fashion rival, the Duchess of Cambridge, during a state visit to Britain this week.

Queen Letizia of Spain Photo (C) GETTY IMAGES
Queen Letizia of Spain Photo (C) GETTY IMAGES

Like Kate, Queen Letizia also hails from a middle class background and is famed for her sartorial style.

Her relationship with Crown Prince Felipe, now King of Spain, was conducted in complete secrecy until their surprise engagement was announced in 2003.

Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano was already a household name – a well-recognised anchorwoman and reporter who covered events such as the Iraq War and 9/11.

She had worked at various newspapers, as well at Bloomberg, CNN+ and Spain’s state TV company Television Espanola.

Queen Letizia of Spain Photo (C) GETTY IMAGES
Queen Letizia of Spain Photo (C) GETTY IMAGES

The 44-year-old is the daughter of a journalist and a nurse, and the granddaughter of a taxi-driver. She first met the prince at a colleague’s dinner party in 2002.

Their engagement in 2003 shocked the country. It was not even known that Felipe had a girlfriend – let alone one who was famous.

The fact that she was also a divorcee led to criticism from hardline monarchists – Letizia wed a teacher in a civil ceremony 1998. Their marriage lasted just one year.

But the journalist-turned-royal bride – who became Queen consort at Felipe’s side in 2014 – has proved popular with the public for her down-to-earth approach.

During her engagement photocall, she made headlines when she told Felipe in public to shut up. “Let me finish,” she said, smiling, in front of the cameras.

The couple have two daughters, Leonor and Sofia.

Queen Letizia of Spain Photo (C) GETTY IMAGES
Queen Letizia of Spain Photo (C) GETTY IMAGES

King Felipe VI has been billed as representing a “new era of hope” for Spain’s monarchy.

The 49-year-old, who is a towering 6ft 5in tall, came to the throne three years ago when his father Juan Carlos abdicated after 40 years as king.

Juan Carlos, who is in poor health, led Spain’s transition from dictatorship to democracy, but faced damaging scandals amid the nation’s financial meltdown.

OVIEDO, SPAIN - OCTOBER 21:  King Felipe VI of Spain (C), Queen Letizia of Spain (L) and Queen Sofia (R) attend the Princesa de Asturias Awards 2016 ceremony at the Campoamor Theater on October 21, 2016 in Oviedo, Spain.  (Photo by Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images)
OVIEDO, SPAIN – OCTOBER 21: King Felipe VI of Spain (C), Queen Letizia of Spain (L) and Queen Sofia (R) attend the Princesa de Asturias Awards 2016 ceremony at the Campoamor Theater on October 21, 2016 in Oviedo, Spain. (Photo by Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images)

Support for Juan Carlos fell when it was discovered he had been on a lavish elephant hunting trip to Botswana in the middle of the financial crisis.

Felipe has been untarnished by royal scandals and has a higher popularity rating than his father.

Discreet and softly spoken, he is seen as more aloof and less charismatic than the once popular Juan Carlos, but better placed to steer the Spanish monarchy to a more secure future and earn back the public’s trust.

Queen Letizia of Spain Photo (C) GETTY IMAGES
Queen Letizia of Spain Photo (C) GETTY IMAGES

He has a law degree and a masters in international relations and is a sporting enthusiast who competed in Spain’s Olympic yachting team at the Barcelona Games in 1992.

Queen Letizia of Spain Photo (C) GETTY IMAGES
Queen Letizia of Spain Photo (C) GETTY IMAGES

Source: EXPRESS CO UK

Tags: Queen Letizia of Spain, UK, First Visit, Buckingham Palace, State Visit, Juan Carlos, Felipe, King Felipe VI

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