• Spain's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Letizia: from newsreader to Queen of Spain

AFP · 2 Jun 2014, 11:44

Published: 02 Jun 2014 12:44 GMT+02:00
Updated: 02 Jun 2014 11:44 GMT+02:00

Ortiz, the granddaughter of a taxi driver, got married on May 22, 2004 to Crown Prince Felipe de Bourbon who is now to take over the throne after the abdication of his father, King Juan Carlos.

The couple's sumptuous and rain-soaked marriage ceremony at Madrid's Almudena Cathedral ended years of speculation over the love life of the prince, five years older than her.

The photogenic 41-year-old will be the first Spanish-born queen since Maria de las Mercedes de Orleans y Bourbon, first wife of Felipe's great-grandfather Alfonso XIII, who died in 1904.

Even before joining the royal family, Ortiz was a well-known face in her job as evening news presenter for Spanish national television TVE.

Previously, she had worked for a Spanish newswire and various newspapers before moving into television.

The bride's modest background and divorcee status shocked some in Spain. She married former literature teacher Alonso Guerrero in a civil ceremony in her mid-20s but the pair split up within months.

But her down-to-earth attitude and elegant dress style brought a welcome touch to the Spanish monarchy, which was restored in 1975 on the death of General Francisco Franco.

When Felipe interrupted Ortiz at their official engagement presentation as she explained how she would gradually leave her job at TVE, the future queen snapped at him: "Let me finish!"

During her first years as princess, Ortiz struggled to gain the affection of Spaniards, who often criticised her as being distant and cold at public events.

But public sympathy for Ortiz soared after her 31-year-old sister Erika committed suicide in February 2007.

Dressed in black and pregnant with her second child, Ortiz broke down in tears as she briefly addressed a crowd of reporters after leaving a memorial mass for her sister.

"Thanks to all who have felt sadness over the death of my little sister," said Ortiz as she clung to the arm of Felipe.

- 'She opened Felipe's spirit' -

Ortiz met the prince in Galicia in November 2002 while she was covering the environmental damage to the coastline of the northwestern region by the sinking of the Prestige oil tanker.

"Letizia opened Felipe's spirit," author Andrew Morton quoted a member of Ortiz's family as saying, in his book about Spain's royal family published in April 2013.

Ortiz's journalist father Jesus Ortiz has described her as a "perfectionist" with "her head well screwed on" -- a view echoed by her mother Paloma Rocasolano, a nurse and union representative at a major Madrid hospital.

Story continues below…

Ortiz has provided regular fodder for Spain's gossip TV shows, online columns, newspapers and magazines, with a big focus on her clothes and thinness.

She has had few known health problems, although in August 2008 the princess had surgery on her nose, to straighten the cartilage and fix a breathing problem, according to the palace.

Born Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano on September 15, 1972 in the northern city of Oviedo, she studied communications at Madrid's Complutense University before taking a masters in broadcast journalism and heading for Mexico for several months to work on a newspaper.

On returning home she made a name for herself after moving into television with financial station Bloomberg TV, later becoming a news presenter with the TVE national network from 2000.

That led to a slew of assignments worldwide, covering events ranging from the September 11 attacks in the United States to the war in Iraq. She earned several awards, including one for the best journalist under 30.

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Valentine's Day
Ten golden rules for snagging a Spanish man
Sally Fazakerley on navigating the perilous path to true love

Ten golden rules for snagging a Spanish man
9 hours ago

Looking for your very own Don Juan? Then this is what you need to know.

Ex Spanish minister testifies in televised graft inquiry
Esperanza Aguirre appears in the televised inquiry. Photo: Screen Grab

Ex Spanish minister testifies in televised graft inquiry
9 hours ago

"As far as I know, there is no illegal financing at the PP in Madrid," Esperanza Aguirre said.

Two Spanish teenagers face jail time over cheating in exam
Stock photo of taking an exam. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Two Spanish teenagers face jail time over cheating in exam
1 day ago

Two students are facing a harsh penalty for cheating on an entrance exam.

Balearic Islands break with tradition with ban on bullfights
A bullfight in Bilbao. Photo: Ander Gillenea/AFP.

Balearic Islands break with tradition with ban on bullfights
1 day ago

The fight to eliminate one of Spain's most famous and long-held traditions wages on.

Spanish civil servant takes six years off work. No-one notices
Photo: Vmiramontes/Flickr

Spanish civil servant takes six years off work. No-one notices
1 day ago

A civil servant continued to draw his salary for six years until he was rumbled.

Meet the Spanish team that helped prove Einstein's theory
Photo: Group for Relativity and Gravitation, University of the Balearic Islands.

Meet the Spanish team that helped prove Einstein's theory
1 day ago

Gravitational waves do exist. The Local talks to a Spanish scientist who helped prove Einstein's theory.

Gallery
Are these Spain's most romantic couples ever?
Photo: Jorge Guerrero/AFP

Are these Spain's most romantic couples ever?
1 day ago

As Valentine's Day approaches, The Local takes a look at some of the most romantic Spanish love stories throughout history.

The Local list
Nine reasons why Cervantes is better than Shakespeare
The Bard versus Cervantes. Photo: Creative commons / Wikimedia

Nine reasons why Cervantes is better than Shakespeare
1 day ago

In the battle for greatness, could Cervantes beat Shakespeare?

Police raid conservative party HQ in yet another graft probe
Popular Party headquarters in Madrid Photo: AFP

Police raid conservative party HQ in yet another graft probe
1 day ago

Yet another corruption scandal has broken bringing yet more strife for the party of Mariano Rajoy.

Spain busts gang trafficking rare falcons for racing in UAE
Photo: Guardia Civil / Ministerio Interior

Spain busts gang trafficking rare falcons for racing in UAE
2 days ago

The ring smuggled protected birds of prey out of Spain for falcon racing in the Arab states.

Sponsored Article
US taxes and FATCA: 'The time for hiding is over'
National
Seven of the best cheesy chat up lines in Spanish
Sponsored Article
Back to Boho chic: Win your new season wardrobe
Health
One dead and dozens ill after falling foul of dodgy tortilla
National
Hapless man has FOUR steel rings cut off penis by firemen
National
Top ten most romantic nicknames to woo your Spanish sweetheart
Shocking: Migrant hides inside car bumper to cross into Spain
Lifestyle
Six things the USA could learn from Spain
National
Ten of Spain's most romantic getaways for Valentine's Day
Culture
Wacky and whimsical: Spain goes carnival crazy
National
Danger: Early toxic caterpillar plague sweeps across Spain
National
Like father like son: Napkin proves matador paternity suit
National
UK rallies expats in Spain ahead of referendum on Brexit
National
Secret to long life? Spaniard lived to 107 on 'red wine diet'
National
Ten Spanish corruption scandals that will take your breath away
National
Watch: Gravity-defying stunts at Spain's Wind Tunnel Games
National
10 English words you'd never guess were really Spanish
National
Madrid to rename Francoist streets after terrorism victims
National
Olé? Bullfighter takes five-month-old baby into the ring
National
Watch: Moment south Spain struck by 6.3 magnitude quake
Travel
9 charming Spanish towns to visit before the tourists come
National
Heartbroken parents publish suicide note from bullied son
National
Spain launches new reality TV show: 'I want to be a nun'
National
Eleven very good reasons to be happy you live in Spain
National
Loyal dog waits two months at hospital door for dead owner
2,919
jobs available