Princess Leonor royal profile rises as she turns 18
Princess Leonor of Spain is turning 18 this year, thrusting her into the spotlight as the heir to the throne and raising questions about her role as an adult.
During a formal ceremony in the Spanish Parliament, on Tuesday, she will swear allegiance to the Constitution and receive medals from Congress and the Senate.
As part of the preparations for the event, the Spanish royal family has released a number of previously unpublished photographs of the princess.
On her first day of school, she was flanked by her mother, Queen Letizia, and her father, King Felipe VI, who was still a prince at the time.
Adding to the significance of her birthday, there will also be a reception in the Royal Palace in Madrid, followed by a family gathering in the El Pardo palace, just outside the capital.
In recent months, the princess has made a series of public appearances in the run-up to her birthday, confirming her status as a public figure after years of having her image protected.
A royal biographer noted that Leonor would need her own narrative, and that she would have to engage with her own digital generation.
Following the princess’ basic training at a Zaragoza army academy, where she has begun a three-year officer’s course, the Spanish media closely followed her progress.
Afterwards, she presided over her own Princess of Asturias awards on 20 October as part of her royal duties.
In her speech, the princess might have been describing the role she sees for herself as first in line to a throne that has undergone some severe tests in recent years.