Felipe VI of Spain (1968)


– Felipe VI

Prince of Asturias

Felipe Juan Pablo Alfonso de Todos los Santos de Borbón y de Grecia was born on 30 January 1968 at Our Lady of Loreto Clinic in Madrid and was the third child and only son of King Juan Carlos I of Spain and Princess Sofía of Greece and Denmark.

Felipe was named after the first Borbón King of Spain, Felipe V, his grandfathers, Infante Juan, Count of Barcelona, and King Paul of Greece, his great-grandfather, King Alfonso XIII of Spain, and de Todos los Santos (of all the Saints) as is customary among the Borbóns. His godparents were his paternal grandfather, Juan, and his paternal great-grandmother, Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain.

Felipe was styled as an Infante of Spain from birth, however he was nearly eight years old before his father succeeded to the throne after the death of Franco and his first official appearance was at his father’s coronation on 22 November 1975. Two years later, Felipe was formally proclaimed as Prince of Asturias, the official title of the heir to the Spanish throne. On his 18th birthday, Felipe was required to swear allegiance to the Constitution and to the King in the Spanish Parliament, fully accepting his role as successor to the Crown.

After obtaining a Master of Science in Foreign Service degree from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, Felipe began his military career  at the General Military Academy in Zaragoza. He began his naval training at the Escuela Naval Militar in Pontevedra in September 1986 before continuing on board the training ship Juan Sebastián Elcano. In September 1987, he began his Air Force training at the Academia General del Aire in Murcia. Felipe was promoted steadily within the Army, Navy and Air Force ranks, however he would automatically become Commander-in-Chief of all three when he succeeded to the throne.

Alongside his military career, Felipe was required to undertake royal duties and he participated in official events in different aspects of Spanish public life. He also serves as patron of several charities and foundations, including the Princess of Asturias Awards where prizes are awarded to individuals, entities or organisations from around the world who make notable achievements in the sciences, humanities, and public affairs. The awards were originally entitled the Prince of Asturias Awards but the name after Felipe became King to reflect the status of his daughter as heiress presumptive.

King of Spain

On 1 November 2003, Felipe announced his engagement to television journalist to Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano, taking many by surprise. The couple first met when Felipe asked a fellow journalist to invite Letizia to a dinner he was attending, however she turned down his request for a date several times before agreeing. The pair managed to keep their blossoming romance a secret which is why the engagement came as such a shock.

Felipe and Letizia were married on 22 May 2004 in the Almudena Cathedral in Madrid and they went on to have two daughters: Leonor, born on 31 October 2005, and Sofía, born on 29 April 2007.

On 2 June 2014, King Juan Carlos announced his intention to abdicate and Felipe ascended the throne at the stroke of midnight on 19 June that same month. The next morning, he was formally proclaimed king in a low-key ceremony held in the Cortes where he swore to uphold the Constitution. Upon his accession, he became the youngest monarch in Europe, being nine months younger than King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands.

Felipe is a three times great-grandchild of Queen Victoria through his father, Juan Carlos, who is a descendant of Princess Beatrice, the youngest child of Victoria and Albert. Felipe is also a three times great-grandchild through his mother, Sofia, who is descended from the eldest child, Victoria, Princess Royal, on both her maternal and paternal lines. Sofia’s father, Paul of Greece, was a grandchild of the Princess Royal through her daughter, Queen Sophie of Greece, and Sofia’s mother, Frederica of Hanover, was a grandchild via her eldest son, Wilhelm II.

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