• 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
Spain in eye of a perfect storm after 10 months without govt
Photo: AFP

Spain is going through one of the worst political storms in its modern history.

Ten incredible Spain locations for Game of Thrones season 7
Photo; Carlos Olmedillas / Flickr

Filming for Game of Thrones season 7 gets underway in Spain in October. The Local takes a look at the special places chosen for the next episodes in the epic HBO drama.

Catalan leader promises 2017 independence referendum
Photo: AFP

The president of Catalonia vowed to hold a referendum on independence next year, whether Spain allowed it or not.

Spain's stricken Socialist party hit by 'coup' attempt
Pedro Sanchez is under pressure to resign. Photo: AFP

Spain's Socialist party was hit by a "coup" attempt on Wednesday with half of its leadership quitting in a bid to oust leader Pedro Sanchez and unblock the country's political deadlock

British mother arrested for leaving child to party till dawn
The mother went clubbing until dawn leaving her seven-year-old alone at the hotel. Photo: AFP

A British mother has been arrested in Mallorca after leaving her child alone overnight in a hotel while she went clubbing till dawn.

Socialists in open warfare as ex-PM blasts Sanchez
Felipe Gonzalez has spoken out against Pedro Sanchez. Photo: AFP

"I feel frustrated... as if I had been tricked," said ex-PM Felipe Gonzalez of the current Socialist leader.

Lidl's €2.99 anti-aging cream comes out top in Spain again
The supermarket brand beat luxury jars. Photo: OCU.

A face-cream from Lidl supermarket costing just €2.99 has once again been found to be the most effective following research by Spain’s leading consumer organisation.

Spanish jihadists arrested for forming terror cell in Europe
Photo: AFP

Police have arrested five suspected members of an Islamic State cell in Spain, Belgium and Germany that spread propaganda for the group online.

Bardem and Cruz team up again for Pablo Escobar film
Spain's golden couple will appear on screen together again. Photo: AFP

Oscar-winning Spanish actors Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem will begin shooting a movie about Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar next month, the married couple's first film together since 2008.

UK files show how Spanish spy tricked Nazis over D-Day
Photo: AFP

Secret files released in Britain Wednesday shed new light on how a Spaniard dubbed the greatest double agent of World War II tricked Germany with false intelligence about the D-Day Normandy landings.

National
Seven reasons why autumn is the very best season in Spain
International
Spanish study finds four types of personality. Which are you?
National
New search underway for civil war grave of poet Lorca
National
Bison found decapitated on Valencia nature reserve
International
Forgotten Voices: What Brits in Spain think about Brexit
Travel
One dead and 14 injured in blast at Spanish resort
International
Game of Thrones want extras 'with muscles' to film in Spain
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Thousands march in Madrid to push for bullfighting ban
Technology
Spanish team invents hands-free 'penis bidet'
National
In pics: Devastation caused by Costa Blanca wildfires
Society
Pregnant woman in niqab attacked by two men in Spain
National
Spanish café offers cut-price coffee to those with manners
Travel
What's on in Spain: September 2016
Travel
'We drank from animal troughs to survive'
National
Forest fires threaten Costa Blanca resort of Jávea
National
Loyal dog mounts vigil at hospital doors for sick owner
Politics
Five reasons why Spain's Socialists won't back Rajoy
National
It's a girl! Rare giant panda cub born in Madrid zoo
Culture
La Tomatina: Everything you need to know about epic fiesta
National
Shocking video shows torture of young calf during fiesta
Police launch appeal for Costa Blanca hit and run driver
Politics
What political deadlock? Spain economy forges ahead
Features
Eight reasons to spend your gap year exploring Spain
3,230
jobs available