Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano (; born 15 September 1972) is the Queen of Spain as the wife of King Felipe VI, who ascended on 19 June 2014 on the abdication of his father Juan Carlos I. Before her marriage to Felipe, Letizia was a journalist and news anchor. Letizia and Felipe have two daughters, Leonor, Princess of Asturias, who is now the heir presumptive; and Infanta Sofía.
Letizia was born in Oviedo, Asturias, to a middle-class family. She is the eldest daughter of Jesús José Ortiz Álvarez, a journalist, and his first wife, María de la Paloma Rocasolano Rodríguez, a registered nurse and hospital union representative. She has two younger sisters, Telma (b. 1973) and Érika (1975–2007), whose death was widely reported by press as due to an intentional prescription drug overdose.
Her parents divorced in 1999 and her father remarried on 1 September 2000 in Madrid on 18 March 2004 to fellow journalist Ana Togores, born ca. 1955
Letizia attended La Gesta School in Oviedo, before her family moved to Madrid, where she attended high school at the Ramiro de Maeztu High School. She completed a bachelor’s degree and a licentiate’s degree in journalism, at the Complutense University of Madrid, as well as a master’s degree in audiovisual journalism at the Institute for Studies in Audiovisual Journalism.
During her studies, Letizia worked for the Asturian daily newspaper La Nueva España and later for the newspaper ABC and the news agency EFE. After completing her studies, she spent some time in Guadalajara, Mexico, working at the newspaper Siglo 21. After returning to Spain, she worked for the Spanish version of the economic channel Bloomberg before moving to the news network CNN+.
In 2000, she moved to TVE, where she started working for the news channel 24 Horas. In 2002, she anchored the weekly news report programme Informe Semanal and later the daily morning news programme Telediario Matinal on TVE 1. In August 2003, a few months before her engagement to Felipe, Letizia was promoted to anchor of the TVE daily evening news programme Telediario 2, the most viewed newscast in Spain.
In 2000, Letizia reported from Washington, D.C., on the presidential elections. In September 2001, she broadcast live from Ground Zero following the 9/11 attacks in New York and in 2003, she filed reports from Iraq following the war. In 2002 she sent several reports from Galicia in northern Spain following the ecological disaster when the oil tanker Prestige sank.
On 1 November 2003, to the surprise of many, the Royal Household announced Letizia’s engagement to the Prince of Asturias. Afterwards, she moved to live in a wing of Zarzuela Palace until the day of her wedding. The Prince of Asturias had proposed to her with a 16-baguette diamond engagement ring with a white gold trim. She marked the occasion by giving him white gold and sapphire cufflinks and a classic book.
The wedding took place on 22 May 2004 in the Cathedral Santa María la Real de la Almudena in Madrid. It was the first royal wedding in this cathedral, which was consecrated by Pope John Paul II in 1993. It had been nearly a century since the capital celebrated a royal wedding, as the prince’s parents married in Athens, and his sisters, Infanta Elena and Infanta Cristina, married in Seville and Barcelona respectively.
Letizia’s bridal gown was designed by Spanish fashion designer Manuel Pertegaz, her bridal shoes by Pura López; and the veil, a gift from Felipe to his bride, was made of off-white silk tulle and hand-embroidered with beautiful details.
As Letizia’s previous marriage involved only a civil ceremony, the Catholic Church does not consider it canonically valid and therefore did not require an annulment to proceed with a Catholic marriage to the Prince of Asturias.
Letizia and Felipe have two daughters: Leonor, Princess of Asturias, born on 31 October 2005; and Infanta Sofía, born on 29 April 2007.
The Princess immediately joined in the duties of her husband and traveled extensively through Spain representing her father-in-law. They also represented Spain in other countries: the Princess has traveled along with the Prince to Jordan, Mexico, Hungary, the Dominican Republic, Panama, the United States of America, Serbia, Brazil, Uruguay, Sweden, Denmark, Japan, China, and Portugal. She also greeted international dignitaries, along with other members of the royal family. Letizia also attended gatherings of foreign royalty in Luxembourg, for the silver wedding anniversary of the Grand Duke and Grand Duchess of Luxembourg, and in the Netherlands for the 40th birthday of the Prince of Orange.
Her solo agenda was announced in 2006, shortly after the announcement of her second pregnancy. Letizia has performed a couple of audiences and her work will focus on social issues such as children rights, culture, and education. In late 2007, her solo agenda started to grow in the quantity of events she performed by herself and Felipe’s and Letizia’s agendas became more distinct and separate.
Letizia supported Spanish designers, from couturiers such as Felipe Varela and Lorenzo Caprile to Zara and Mango, and continues to as queen consort.
On 19 June 2014, Letizia became Queen of Spain; as such, she holds the style of Majesty. She is the first Spanish-born queen consort since Mercedes of Orléans, the first wife of Alfonso XII. She is also the first Spanish queen to have been born as a commoner. Letizia undertook her first solo engagement as queen on 23 June 2014 at the inauguration of the El Greco and modern painting exhibition at the National Prado museum in Madrid.
In their first overseas trip as monarch and consort, King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia met Pope Francis on 30 June 2014, in the Apostolic Palace. They later met with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by Mgsr. Antoine Camilleri, under-secretary for Relations with States. The visit followed one by King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofia on 28 April.
In 2015, Letizia was named Special Ambassador for Nutrition for the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.
Letizia and Felipe and the princesses still reside at the residence where they have lived since 2004. It is stated that the Palace of Zarzuela is a working place only for Felipe.