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Spain : Princess Leonor’s Profile Rises As She Turns 18

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Spain’s Princess Leonor is about to turn 18, thrusting her into the spotlight as heir to the throne and raising questions about the role she will play as an adult royal.

Her birthday, on Tuesday, will be marked by a formal ceremony in the Spanish Parliament, at which she will swear allegiance to the Constitution before receiving the medals of Congress and the Senate.

Anticipating the event, the Spanish royal family has released a series of photos of the princess, many of them previously unpublished.

They include one of her on her first day of school, flanked by her mother, Queen Letizia, and her father, King Felipe VI, who was then still a prince himself.

Another shows her in 2010, clutching the World Cup trophy the Spanish men’s football team had just won. Others show her alongside her younger sister Sofía.

Underlining the significance of her birthday, there will also be a reception in the Royal Palace in Madrid, followed by a family gathering in the El Pardo palace, just outside the capital.

The release of the photos and a series of recent appearances by the princess leading up to her birthday confirm that, after years of having her image carefully shielded, she is now becoming a very public figure.

“Leonor will need her own narrative,” noted royal biographer Carmen Remírez de Ganuza, adding that she “will have to connect with her own digital generation”.

While the exact nature of that narrative is not yet clear, the build-up to the princess’s arrival as a senior royal has gone smoothly.


Written by: Safiya Wada

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