Letizia Ortiz is the name of the Queen Consort of Spain married to the king Felipe VI. The couple rose to this position because of the abdication of King Juan Carlos in June 2014.
Letizia was born in Oviedo to a journalist father and mother who is a nurse, who were divorced in 1999. She is the eldest of three daughters – her younger sister Telma is an economist and the youngest, Érika, was a designer who sadly committed suicide at the age of 31 in 2007. Letizia’s paternal grandmother was a radio presenter in Asturias for more than 40 years.
Letizia studied Journalism at the Complutense University in Madrid and started to work as a political correspondent during her final year. She did a Masters degree in audiovisual information and commenced a doctorate in Guadalajara, Mexico which she did not complete. In the year 2000 she received a prize from the Madrid Press Association as the best journalist under the age of 30.
In 1998 she married her former secondary school teacher after a ten year relationship, but they were divorced the following year. In 2000 she joined Spanish national television as a news journalist and newsreader. She was sent to cover a number of international events including 9/11 in New York and the invasion of Irak and became a familiar face reading the midday news.
She met Prince Felipe at a private party in Madrid in 2002 and their attraction was immediate. They managed to keep their relationship completely secret, even from friends and colleagues, for a year so that the announcement of their engagement in November 2003 came as a complete surprise. They were married on a rainy day in Madrid in May 2004 and have since had two daughters, Leonor born in 2005 who is first in line to the throne, and Sofia, born in 2007.
Letizia has had to give up her professional life and take on a secondary role to her husband. She has not always looked comfortable with this and has often appeared distracted and bored in public. She has also been criticized for becoming exceptionally thin and her style is seen to be too conventional. She is now working alongside Felipe in his efforts to become a more modern monarch, but has not really carved a separate role for herself in the public arena.
As a Catholic queen Letizia now enjoys the privilege of being able to wear white in the presence of the pope. Why that is important I have no idea.