Queen Welcomes Michelle Obama

Queen Letizia welcomed U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama to Madrid last week.

Mrs. Obama was on a tour of several countries to promote her Let Girls Learn initiative.

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© Casa de S.M. el Rey

Queen Letizia, who has met Mrs. Obama several times before, spoke at the event, and then welcomed the first lady at the Zarzuela Palace complex.

It is notable that Queen Letizia did not take Mrs.Obama to the more formal areas of the sprawling complex.

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Instead, the two walked the gardens of the secluded residence where the Queen and King Felipe live.

The Obamas are scheduled to visit Spain in the coming weeks.

 

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Queen Letizia Breaks With Tradition, Again

Queen Letizia broke with Spanish Royal Family tradition during a flag ceremony for the Civil Guard in the Basque Country last week.

© Casa de S.M. el Rey
© Casa de S.M. el Rey

Her Majesty decided against wearing a more formal, black dress and mantilla on her hair as queens have done for such ceremonies, and as Queen Sofia did in the picture below.

© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos
© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos

Queen Letizia, instead, wore the same dress she wore for her proclamation.

© Casa de S.M. el Rey
© Casa de S.M. el Rey

Even though ardent monarchists have not been fond of the breaks in tradition, many Spaniards and media outlets welcome the changes.

© Casa de S.M. el Rey
© Casa de S.M. el Rey

Recently she and King Felipe dressed down to attend a Madrid scientific monologue contest, above, and the King celebrated Spanish victory in a basketball tournament, below.

© Casa de S.M. el Rey
© Casa de S.M. el Rey

Princess Letizia Celebrates Anniversary

Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia last week celebrated their ten year anniversary.

The Royal Household released pictures of the couple getting their daughters — Infanta Leonor and Infanta Sofia — getting ready for school.

© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos
© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos

The Royal Household also released a series of statistics about Their Royal Highnessess as Prince and Princess of Asturias, and heirs to the Spanish throne.

The Prince and Princess of Asturias on a museum visit in Toledo. © Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos
The Prince and Princess of Asturias on a museum visit in Toledo.
© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos

The couple has made more than 70 foreign trips to 38 countries. They have hosted more than 1,500 official events together, with Princess Letizia hosting 190 by herself.

The Prince and Princess have also received more than 7,000 people together during audiences.

 

All The King’s Palaces

King Juan Carlos and his family have a number of Royal Palaces, sites and homes at their disposition.

In practice, however, they only use a fraction of them on a regular basis, and mostly for official occasions. Below is a non-exhaustive list:

Photo by Manuel Quinones.
Photo by Manuel Quinones.

The Madrid Royal Palace, above, is the King’s official residence and site for the most important state gatherings.

It has a large dining room, numerous works of art, an armory with historic weapons belonging to members of the Royal Family, and the official Throne Room.

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Royal Site of San Lorenzo del Escorial.

The Royal Site of San Lorenzo del Escorial is a large palace and monastery in the Madrid region, which includes a tapestry museum, a library, a basilica and the official burial place for members of the Spanish Royal Family.

On the grounds is a small house called La Casita del Principe for the Prince of Asturias, the heir to the Spanish throne.

Nearby is the Valley of the Fallen, resting place for former Dictator Francisco Franco.

Prince Felipe and his wife Princess Letizia, however, currently live in a newly built small palace often called the Prince’s Pavilion, pictured below.

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The Prince’s house is a short drive from Zarzuela Palace, where King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia have lived for several decades.

Former Franco rehabilitated Zarzuela, an old royal hunting lodge, for the young couple. They moved in in shortly after their wedding in Athens, when their future as heirs to the Spanish throne was still uncertain.

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Welcoming guests at Zarzuela Palace.

The King and other members of the Royal Family often receive informal visits at Zarzuela, which is equipped with communications capabilities and contains Royal Household offices in support of the Monarch as the Head of State.

The King’s dispatch is at Zarzuela with his official Royal Standard flying above. Queen Sofia’s sister, Princess Irene of Greece, also lives on the site.

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The Zarzuela Palace, also outside of central Madrid, is in the grounds of El Pardo Palace, pictured above. Franco used to live at El Pardo, which now includes reception rooms and apartments for guests.

Most Royal Palaces and sites, which include monasteries and gardens, are owned by the state and run by Patrimonio Nacional or National Heritage.

Also in the Madrid region, but to the south, is the Royal Palace of Aranjuez, pictured below.

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Several Royal sites are located in the Segovia area, north of Madrid.

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The Gardens of La Granja de San Idelfonso, above, extend more then 1,000 acres. The Riofrio Palace, below, was built for Queen Elisabeth Farnese in the 1700’s but has generally been barely used.

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Also in Segovia is the Alcazar de Segovia, which was used by Queen Isabella of Castile. It is run by a patronage and one of several castles that were once royal homes are now museums.

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The King’s official residence in Barcelona is owned by the local government. The same goes for the Royal Family’s summer residence in the Balearic Islands, Marivent Palace in Palma de Mallorca.

U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama meeting with King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia at Marivent Palace. © Agencia EFE
U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama meeting with King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia at Marivent Palace.
© Agencia EFE

However, they also use another site down the coast in Palma run by Patrimonio Nacional. Almudaina Palace, below, was once an Arab fort.

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Then there’s the Royal Residence at La Mareta in the Canary Islands. It was a gift of King Hussein of Jordan to King Juan Carlos.

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Among The Most Blue Blooded Women In The World

Queen Sofia met this week with close friend the Duchess of Alba, known for being the woman with the most titles of nobility in the world.

© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos
© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos

Her Majesty and the Duchess, Cayetana Fitz-James Stuart, attended an exhibit of works from the House of Alba at Madrid’s iconic Cibeles Palace.

On hand were several Spanish government officials and the Duchess’ son, Carlos Fitz-James Stuart, the Duke of Huéscar.

© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos
Admiring Goya’s “The Duchess of Alba in White.”
© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos

The collection includes works by Goya, Rubens and letters by Christopher Columbus.

King’s Inviolability Invoked

An important story about the Spanish Royal family has begun trickling into the international media. The story is important not because of its gossip value but because of its constitutional lessons.

Two Spanish courts have rejected claims from two people saying the are illegitimate children of King Juan Carlos. The Telegraph wrote this about Alberto Sola Jimenez from Catalonia and Ingrid Sartiau from Belgium:

In an interview earlier this year she said: “My mother told me who my father was while we were watching television. An image of King Juan Carlos flashed up and she said: ‘That man’s your father.'”

The pair met for the first time in June when they underwent DNA tests that show there is a 91 per cent chance that they have one parent in common.

However, the courts rejected their claims because the Spanish Constitution makes clear that the person of the King is “inviolable.”

King Juan Carlos receives new ambassadors at Royal Palace in Madrid.

The Royal Household has remained silent about the story, which has appeared in El Mundo and El Huffington Post, but has not been prevalent in many mainstream media outlets.

Updated: Royalty Arrives At Olympics

Queen Sofia rose to her feet and waved at Spanish athletes during the opening ceremonies of the London Olympics.

Queen Sofia at Buckingham Palace.
© Agencia EFE

Queen Sofia attended a reception with Queen Elizabeth II, a distant relative, at Buckingham Palace before heading to the Olympic Stadium.

She also inaugurated the opening of the Spanish House for the events.

Queen Sofia with Spanish Sports Minister José Ignacio Wert and Madrid Mayor Ana Botella
© Agencia EFE

Yesterday, the Queen presided over a reception at the Spanish Embassy in London, where she was accompanied by King Juan Carlos’ sister, Infanta Pilar, Duchess of Badajoz.

© Agencia EFE