King Felipe and Queen Letizia of Spain bid emotional farewell to ‘nervous’ Princess Leonor as she begins military training
It was an emotional farewell for the as Princess Leonor, the heir presumptive, said goodbye to her parents and sister on Thursday to begin her three years of military training. donned military uniform as he joined his wife and youngest daughter Infanta Sofia to drop off Leonor at the General Military Academy of Zaragoza, in northeastern Spain. Speaking to reporters, Princess Leonor, who turns 18 in October, said she is facing the new chapter ‘with enthusiasm’ but admitted to also feeling ‘a little nervous’. Queen Letizia, who will against England’s Lionesses on Sunday, looked emotional as she hugged her daughter goodbye on Thursday. Proud father King Felipe placed a protective hand on his daughter’s shoulder as she wheeled her suitcase to the entrance of the academy. By attending Zaragoza – Spain’s equivalent of Sandhurst – Princess Leonor is following in the footsteps of King Felipe and her grandfather, the former King Juan Carlos. She will spend a year at the military academy, then go to a naval school where she will sail the Juan Sebastian de Elcano, a four masted schooner used by the Spanish navy for training, and finish her studies at the General Air Academy. As the heir presumptive, Leonor is expected to one day be commander-in-chief of the armed forces. The teenager recently graduated from , where she studied alongside Princess Alexia of the Netherlands. ‘I have just finished high school and I am about to start a new stage with a period of military training,’ Princess Leonor previously said of her new adventure. ‘I am happy because I know how much the Spanish value our armed forces… It is an important moment in my life and I feel very excited and determined to continue learning and giving my best effort.’ In a press conference conducted in March of this year Spanish Defence Minister Margarita Robles remarked on the Princess coming to ‘it shows that we will have, when the time comes, a supreme commander who is a woman,’ she said ‘and in the recent years, we’ve made a big effort to incorporate women into the armed forces’, she said. ‘It’s an essential step in the life of Her Royal Highness … toward the leadership of our country’. Princess Leonor is a highly accomplished young woman who can speak several languages, as she demonstrated yesterday by addressing the audience in Spanish, Catalonian and English. The teenager has slowly started to carry out engagements in recent years as her parents begin the important task of equipping her with the skills she will one day need as queen. In an important move, Princess Leonor has even carried out official engagements without the support of her parents. As Princess Leonor of Spain leaves UWC Atlantic, her sister, Princess Sofia will begin her studies at the school, which has been dubbed ‘Hippie Hogwarts’. The Spanish royal announced earlier this year that the teenager, who is second in line to the throne, will follow her older sister to Wales. Past alumni include King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, Princess Raiyah bint Al Hussein of Jordan, and Princess Elisabeth, Duchess of Brabant, Belgium’s future queen.