King of Spain's Family Was Against Him Marrying His Wife - He Threatened to End the Monarchy to Be with Her
Before Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's fairy-tale love story, there was Prince Felipe and journalist Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano's. According to a book about the royal family, Spain's Queen Letizia was seen as a threat to the country's royal household by former King Juan Carlos.
Prince Felipe had to fight for his relationship with Letizia, as his family was against him marrying her. Spain's former King, Juan Carlos, viewed his soon-to-be daughter-in-law as "the worst thing that happened to the royal family in many years."
Here are further details about the King of Spain and Queen Letizia's love that conquered challenges and stood the test of time.
HOW THE COUPLE MET
Born in September 1972, Letizia of Spain is the daughter of a journalist and a nurse. She quickly rose in her broadcasting career, reporting for Bloomberg News, CNN, and Television Espana.
Letizia was named the best Spanish journalist under 30 and became an evening news anchor. Everyone in Spain knew who she was.
While reporting on an oil spill in late 2002, she ran into Crown Prince Felipe. The pair met earlier that year at a dinner party on October 17, 2002.
The couple had an instant connection when they first laid eyes on each other. Felipe then asked his future wife out on a proper date, keeping the courtship low-key.
On November 1, 2003, the lovebirds announced their engagement, and days later, they posed together for photographers in an official engagement ceremony at the garden of El Pardo Palace.
Instead of wearing a dress, Letizia opted for a white pantsuit to meet reporters. She created a media frenzy when she scolded, "Let me finish," after her fiancé interrupted her.
WHY FELIPE'S FAMILY WAS AGAINST HIS MARRIAGE TO LETIZIA
On May 22, 2004, the couple got married at Madrid's Almudena Cathedral. Felipe's family opposed his marriage to the brunette beauty because she was the opposite of a classic Spanish queen – divorced, worldly, and opinionated. Carlos even called Letizia "the enemy within." "He was hostile to the idea" of her becoming his daughter-in-law.
Letizia's story about being a divorcée is similar to that of Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, as both their first husbands used their fame to earn money.
In 1999, Queen Letizia divorced high school teacher Alonso Guerrero Perez following one year of marriage. Five years after she married Felipe, her ex-husband published a book, "El Amor de Penny Robinson" (The Love of Penny Robinson). The book was based on their marriage, breakup, and second marriage.
Moreover, Letizia once posed for a nude painting in Mexico, where she befriended a Cuban artist named Waldo Saavedra.
After returning to Spain, he painted a poster that featured a naked woman with Letizia's face standing up to her waist in water. Although Saavedra described her as his former muse, he has denied she ever posed nude for him.
In June 2014, Juan abdicated from the throne for his son, now King Felipe VI. Notably, he had always been cold towards his daughter-in-law, a divorcee and a "commoner."
As an addition to the royal family, Letizia was always an outsider from a working-class family. Her mother was an activist, and her grandfather was a taxi driver.
The book, written by two online journalists, Daniel Forcada and Alberto Lardies, titled "The Court of Felipe VI," published in 2015, revealed:
"The master never liked the arrival of a journalist in a place that had traditionally been an opaque haven from the fourth estate."
The pair claimed Carlos entertained his friends with jokes aimed at Letizia's arrival, stating that it would ruin the royals, and referred to her as a maid. The father of three told friends in 2003 that his son was about to bring the monarchy into disrepute when he learned of his intent to marry Letizia, per The Times.
PRINCE FELIPE'S ULTIMATUM
As a result, Felipe, gave his father an ultimatum about marrying Letizia, who became the first commoner in Spanish history to be in line to be Queen and the first in that position to be divorced.
According to a member of another European royal family, "Felipe went to his father to ask permission to marry Letizia with a letter renouncing his right to the throne in his pocket," said the source.
When his father suggested he wait another year to act on his decision to marry, Felipe handed him the letter. Juan then asked his wife, Sophia of Spain, what they should do, and she told him:
"You have no choice. If you don't consent, it will be the end of the monarchy."
"Some aristocrats were outraged when Felipe married Letizia," said a royal observer. "They make fun of her behind her back, but they won't say it publicly because they're monarchists. Letizia knows it, and she can't stand them."
THE COUPLE'S MARRIED LIFE AND CHILDREN
Irrespective of the treatment Letizia received, she remained a sound support system to her husband and influenced him beyond measure.
"She's helped Prince Felipe meet groups of society he wasn't familiar with, such as people in the media," Assistant editor of ABC, Laurence Debray, once revealed. "And I like the fact that when they got married, they started their honeymoon trip around Spain in a car, which nobody knew they were going to do."
"That was something that came out of her. And that's brilliant," the editor continued. Debray mentioned that one thing that stood out about the couple was that they were not linked to any dodgy dealings:
"The most important thing about Felipe and Letizia is that they are not linked in any way to any kind of corruption."
He added that the royal couple was "ambitious enough to stay away from it all." Felipe and Letizia even kept their distance from Inaki Urdangarin, a Spanish handball player, and his wife, Infanta Cristina of Spain. Cristina and her spouse allegedly resented the duo because they were treated differently at the palace.
"Felipe's a good family man. He doesn't have mistresses. He doesn't go hunting. He's very modern."
The King and Queen share two daughters, Leonor, Princess of Asturias and Infanta Sofia of Spain. An expert told the Express that Letizia had instilled a strong sense of duty in her kids.
Elaine Soller, Head of Customer Experience at Babysense, commented on the royal's background and mentioned that it played a role in her parenting skills:
"This influenced how grounded she is as a parent – she has been pictured dropping her kids off on their first days of school and ensures, discreetly, that the princesses have time to have fun with their friends."
One example was "When a press member once asked Princess Leonor what she wants to be when she grows up. The Queen quickly responded that the Princess would have to do what she 'has to do not what she 'wants to do,'" Soller revealed.