The Spanish Crown Princess Leonor is still cramming with peers from all over the world at the boarding school in Wales. After graduating from high school and the summer vacation, the serious side of life begins for her: At the end of August, the 17-year-old will start a three-year military training course in Zaragoza, as announced by the government and the royal family.
The petite blonde girl with the often dreamy face will then learn, among other things, to shoot, climb into tanks weighing several tons and probably have to crawl through the mud in full military gear. Leonor initially did not comment on this. However, the royal family assured them that they were looking forward to it.
Hopes for the salvation of the monarchy
The young crown princess, who will come of age on October 31, is to be trained in all three branches of the armed forces, like her father, King Felipe VI. What's more, she will then be in the spotlight of the Spanish public like never before. Because the hopes of all royal family supporters rest on Leonor that the monarchy downfall prophecies of some left-wing politicians, observers and media will not come true after all.
The chances are not bad. Because Leonor has so far proven to be a true royal model child. Unlike her grandfather, former king Juan Carlos, who caused serious damage to the image of "Casa Real" with several scandals and affairs, Leonor de Borbón has so far followed the example of her father Felipe, who is considered a "clean man". The monarch's only weakness: Some accuse the 55-year-old of being too conservative, too boring, too stiff. A replacement is not yet up for debate, but an early abdication of Felipe has not been ruled out either.
Before moving to Wales in the summer of 2021, Leonor grew up well protected in the royal residence Palacio de la Zarzuela. But she had to pass several tests. She spoke publicly for the first time on her 13th birthday to mark the 40th anniversary of the Spanish constitution. Other public appearances followed, in which she always cut a fine figure.
Studies at "Hogwarts"
In the summer of 2021, she left the royal nest to attend UWC Atlantic College. Located near Cardiff in the medieval castle of St Donat's in the Vale of Glamorgan, the school has been compared by the media to the Hogwarts School of Magic in the Harry Potter novels.
We (still) know very little about Leonor. According to the Spanish media, she is considered to be very organized and tidy, but also shy, reserved and suspicious. The military training, which is obvious in Spain not least because the king or queen, as head of state, is also the supreme commander of the armed forces, will also shape the future queen, the royal family asserts.
"The King, together with the Queen (Letizia), considers that the Princess of Asturias' military training is very useful and valuable: it strengthens her service and operational capability and facilitates her representative tasks that she has to undertake," it said .
Not only former king Juan Carlos, who has been living in exile in the desert emirate of Abu Dhabi away from his family since the summer of 2020 because of his misconduct, caused trouble in the Spanish royal family. Leonor's uncle Iñaki Urdangarin, who has since separated from Felip's sister Cristina, was the first direct member of the royal family to be behind bars for a long time after being convicted in 2018 of embezzling six million euros in taxpayers' money as well as forgery, money laundering and fraud.
And most recently, Leonor's cousin Froilán (24), a son of Felipe's sister Elena, caused displeasure in the Palacio with wild disco visits, alleged involvement in fights and other escapades. At a time when more and more Spaniards - including the junior partner in the left-wing governing coalition, Unidas Podemos (UP) - are increasingly calling for the abolition of the monarchy, Leonor is raising new hopes, not only among Royals fans.
Key role for the princess
"The parliamentary monarchy is an element of stability that inspires confidence in the current times of political and institutional turmoil. And in the hope of stability Leonor plays a key role," wrote the renowned newspaper "El Mundo" on Wednesday.
In cafés in the capital Madrid, positive voices were also heard above all. From older people, but also from younger people. "Well, for me the monarchy is not contemporary, it should be abolished. But Leonor might bring some fresh air into the shop," said architecture student Pedro (22).