Last October 31Princess Leonor of Asturias turned 18 years old. With his coming of age, a new page began to be written in the Spanish monarchy. Is the first female heir to the throne of Spain in almost two centuries, since Queen Elizabeth II swore the Magna Carta in 1843.
But she will also be the first queen of democracy and the first to hold the position of Captain General of the Armed Forces, titles that mark a new stage of modernity in the institution. With these milestones, she is called to be a reference for her generation.
A generation that did not know the world without the internet, that pushes hard for equality, that has become acutely aware of climate change, that is the most diverse due to its sexual orientation, but that also distrusts politics and raises its voice , because she doesn’t feel heard. This is the challenge for the future queen who must defend the renewal of a monarchy with an unadjusted script written with the weight of centuries of history and tradition.
After weeks full of protocol acts, the first-born of Kings Felipe and Letiziaclosed the month swearing to the Constitution in front of Parliament, an act that legitimizes it to be able assume the duties of queen automatically, in case Felipe VI was missing.
Attentive to tradition, she did so on the same copy of the Magna Carta on which her father swore an oath on January 30, 1986. also when he turned 18. The act continued in he Royal Palace where Felipe VI imposed on him the Collar of the Order of Carlos III, the main civil decoration granted by the Government. After her delivery, Leonor gave her first speech as her heir.
“I owe it to the Spanish people. I ask them to trust me,” he assured a convulsed Spain, which today is struggling in political chaos, in the midst of an agreement between the Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) and Junts per Catalunya, that with your support will facilitate the investiture of Pedro Sánchez as President of the Government.
Not for nothing, before the official lunch, the king Philip VI He recalled that the principles and values of the Constitution must prevail at all times and highlighted what the Crown symbolizes the unity and permanence of Spain. “The oath of the Constitution of the Princess of Asturias before the Cortes Generales is the solemn expression of the commitment of the person who embodies the continuity of our monarchy,” she said before asking for a toast to her daughter.
A continuity that has been under popular observation after the scandals of the emeritus king and several members of his entourage. However, according to a recent survey published in the Spanish newspaper “La Razón”, 70.4% of Spaniards believe that Leonor meets the necessary conditions to assume the functions of the crown in the future.
If they see it that way, it is because despite the wear and tear that the institution has suffered, the renovated Royal House projects an image that aims to connect with the aspirations of Spanish society. Her challenge, beyond the academic training and institutional projection of the heiress, will be to maintain this connection with the people, not only with those who profess deep-rooted monarchical traditions, but also with those of the rebellious modernity manifested by those of her own generation. .
Fashion and politics
Contrary to those who seek to constrain it to a purely frivolous side, fashion is always a social, cultural and political manifestation. So, as the saying goes, “the clothing does not make the monk…but it helps him well”, for such an occasion Princess Leonor (fourth queen by right of Spain after her predecessors Isabel II, Juana I of Castile and Isabel la Católica) gave the surprise dressed in a simple suit white pants.
The garment was made by the Serna tailor shop, a century-old company in Madrid that also made the uniform of the then Prince Felipe on his wedding day, dispensing with the dresses so common on those occasions.
An outfit loaded with symbolism, both political and feminist. The elegant simplicity served to give relevance to the oath of the Constitution, and the color white, associated with the concept of purity, could be associated with the defense of rights and freedom. empowerment Women’s.
It is not only the color used by the first suffragettes at the beginning of the 20th century, but also by several political leaders such as Hillary Clinton, in special occasions. Coincidentally, he is Queen Letizia’s favorite, on key dates in her life. She chose him for the official presentation of her as Felipe’s fiancée, for the baptisms of her two daughters and for the institutional acts of her proclamation.
The monochromatic trend of the Princess of Asturias was only broken by the insignia with the red ribbon of the Golden Fleece, which represents the order of chivalry created at the beginning of the 15th century, a symbol of its status of heir to the Crown that he wore on his lapel.
Her sister, Infanta Sofía, also used fashion to express herself. Her romantic “cape dress” printed with flowers from the English brand Erdem (one of Kate Middleton’s favorites) was rented for the occasionjoining the circular fashion trend.
The voice of women. Beyond the celebrations, the colorful notes in the costumes and the whispers about the possible presence of the outcast king emeritus, Don Carlos de Borbón, it was the red-hot politics that got in the way among so much pomp and circumstance. The Parliament that the princess finds herself in today is very different from the one in which she received her father, much more fragmented and polarized and with a greater presence of women. The Congress that witnessed the swearing in of Felipe de Borbón had only 22 female members and currently there are 155 female deputies, 44% of the total. More than half of Pedro Sanchez’s cabinet are women (12 occupy the ministries), while in 1986 they were conspicuous by their absence in Felipe Gonzalez’s. At that time it was a man, Gregorio Peces Barba, who as president of the Lower House was in charge of receiving the oath of the Constitution. On this occasion it was a woman, Francina Armengol, third authority of the State, who had the task. In addition to wearing a dress in the same klein blue color as the Carolina Herrera design that the Queen wore (protocolally unacceptable), it was her words, in which she avoided any reference to the history of Spain and the monarchy, that ended up rarifying the weather to the ceremony. Her speech, for many, was more similar to that of a political rally, with references to feminism, the climate crisis and the fight against gender violence; than to a formal ceremony. And as if this were not enough, she interrupted the long ovation for the Princess that was given almost unanimously by the deputies and senators present.
Leonor appeared before Parliament with many absences. Her grandfather’s, King Emeritus Juan Carlos I, distanced from the royal family after his forced departure to the Arab Emirates. And also that of some representatives of various parties in the Cortes. Irene Montero, from Equality, was very critical of the act, stating that she intended to make a “feminist facelift” of the monarchy. “There is no fairy more antagonistic to monarchy than feminism or democracy,” she declared.
According to political analysts, Leonor’s swearing-in brought a sense of normality amid the tension of the political scene and reinforced the sense of unity of the State, displaying the supposed “absence of partiality” that characterizes the Crown. A queen who will only reign due to the circumstance of not having male brothers.