From her charismatic way with the public to her elegant sense of style, it’s hardly surprising that “Lenormania” has taken over Spain today in the run-up to her princess’ 18th birthday.
This morning the young queen – whose official title is Princess of Astorias – swore allegiance to the Spanish constitution in the House of Commons in Madrid.
Despite the country’s political divisions, reports from Spain suggest that the nation is largely united behind the young princess, who is currently completing her military training in her role as Cadet Borbon.
While studying at UWC Atlantic College in Wales, the Queen kept her appearances to a minimum.
However, since starting her new role in the military, she has slowly been thrust into the spotlight, causing her popularity to skyrocket.
Princess Leonor, 18, pictured arriving at the House of Commons in Madrid this morning ahead of her swearing-in ceremony
According to newspaper El Espanol, Princess Leonor is currently the most popular member of the Spanish royal family – even beating her father King Felipe for the title.
Speaking at the Princesa de Asturias awards ceremony in Oviedo, Spain, last week, the princess acknowledged how important today’s proceedings are to her future role as head of state.
She said: “I understand very well and am aware of what my duty is and what my responsibility entails.”
Speaking to the crowd as her parents, 16-year-old sister Infanta Sofia and other family members looked on, she said it was an “honor” to swear by the Spanish constitution on her 18th birthday.
The court queen added: “I understand very well and am aware of what my duty is and what my responsibility entails.”
She particularly noted the professional achievements of three-time Oscar-winning actress Meryl Streep, who was honored at the ceremony.
Leonor said she strives to identify with the honorees, even though many of them are decades older than her, because they have achieved incredible things.
Although Princess Leonor has addressed awards presented in her name three times, her latest address marks a shift towards greater responsibility for the future Spanish monarch.
Pictured: Members of the Spanish Civil Guard patrol outside the House of Commons ahead of Princess Leonor’s ceremony
Pictured: Princess Leonor’s 18th birthday portrait appears on flags around Madrid today to mark the occasion
Coffee cups with a photo of Spanish Crown Princess Leonor are sold in a shop in downtown Madrid
The Queen and her sister Infanta Sophia, 16, moved more and more into the spotlight as they got older – with Leonor often taking center stage on family outings.
Fernando Rayón, professor of political information at CEU San Pablo University, said Euronews that the Spanish royal family had “the right timing” with Princess Leonor’s recent appearances.
The expert said: “During her studies, the princess was very reserved in her demeanor.”
“The image that Leonor conveys is that of being where she needs to be.” She doesn’t make any statements, there are no unnecessary pictures of her at home or at parties. That’s why people see her for what she is: the future queen and head of state.”
Lenor’s busy feast day began with the court queen taking an oath before the Cortes Generales to preserve the Magna Carter as successor head of state.
Ahead of today’s ceremony, members of Spain’s Civil Guard appeared to be on patrol outside the House of Commons, which houses the legislative chambers and Senate.
The Royal Standard flags were hung from every window on the second floor of the historic building and attached to a larger window above the main entrance.
Pictured: Crowds of royal fans gather in Puerta del Sol square to attend Princess Leonor’s swearing-in ceremony
Pictured: In the House of Commons in Madrid, where the swearing-in ceremony is taking place this morning
Princess Leonor swears allegiance to the Spanish Constitution in the Spanish Parliament on the day of her 18th birthday
Last night, the city of Madrid released a new official portrait of the Princess ahead of her swearing-in ceremony.
In the photo, the royal is wearing a casual yet chic blue V-neck knitted sweater and looking into the distance. Leonor opted for minimal make-up and wore her dark blonde hair down.
Mayor José Luis Martínez-Almeida shared the photo and invited the public to take part in the celebrations celebrating the coming of age of the future queen.
This morning the image appeared on flags on lampposts across the city – as royal fans arrived in their thousands to take part in the celebrations.
In addition to Leonor swearing an oath to the Spanish Constitution, the mayor invited residents to take part in the celebrations.
Volunteers will distribute more than 7,500 Spanish flags throughout the city for residents to wave in thanks to Leonor.
Princess Leonor told an audience last week at the Princesa de Asturias Awards, presented in her name, that she “understands her duty.”
The heir to the Spanish throne recently began three years of military training at the General Military Academy in Zaragoza
To mark the occasion, shops in the country’s capital have also started selling royal memorabilia – including coffee mugs with Leonor’s face printed on the side.
The Magna Carta ceremony marks the 37th anniversary since Leonor’s father, King Felipe, swore the oath at the same Palacio de las Cortes de la Carrera de San Jerónimo on January 30, 1986.
Later today, a Guard of Honor of the Metropolitan Police, presided over by the Vice Mayor of Madrid, which includes the Cavalry Squadron and the Metropolitan Police Band, will be stationed in the Plaza de la Villa.
José Luis Martínez-Almeida said: “As mayor of the capital of Spain, I invite you to actively participate so that Madrid can be brought back up to date and that this historic ceremony is an eloquent symbol of the loyalty and affection that we Madrid residents feel.” for the royal family in general and for Mrs. Leonor in particular on this special day of her life.
King Felipe and Queen Letizia of Spain pictured with little Princess Leonor shortly after her birth
In one of the many new photos shared by the palace, Leonor can be seen as a baby sitting on the palace steps
The Queen, now 18, was seen greeting well-wishers last October while she was still a student in Wales
“May our streets and balconies be decorated with the colors of the national flag, “a symbol that unites all Spaniards”, as the King recalled recently at the flag oath of the Princess of Asturias in Zaragoza.”
When Leonor becomes queen, she will be the country’s first female ruler since 1868.
Due to recent changes to birthright rules, we can also expect queens on the throne in a number of European countries, including Sweden, Belgium, the Netherlands and Norway. Queen Margrethe is currently ruler of Denmark.
The law has not changed in Spain, where the monarchy still favors the first-born boy.
Unlike Prince Christian of Denmark – who is just two weeks older than Leonor and also a future European monarch – the princess’s 18th birthday celebrations will be decidedly low-key.
However, there will be some excitement as the Royal Mint of Spain will be releasing a limited edition 40 euro coin to mark her birthday. The Bank of Spain will put up to one million of the coins into circulation in the last three months of this year.
The coin weighs 18 grams, is made of a mix of silver and copper and is engraved with the effigy of “Her Royal Highness the Princess of Asturias”.
The 18-year-old is currently completing military training at the General Military Academy in Zaragoza.
Described as the Spanish equivalent of Sandhurst, the school follows a strict timetable, but the princess can return home on weekends when she is not on maneuvers.
Before starting at the academy, she completed her first engagement without her parents when she traveled to Gironda with sister Sofia.