Who are Princess Leonor and Infanta Sofía of Spain?

The future of the Spanish Royal Family falls into the hands of a young princess, followed by her sister in the line of succession to the throne. The two daughters of King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia have already made their first public appearances, but many people still wonder who these young royals are. This is everything you need to know about Princess Leonor and Infanta Sofía of Spain.

All about Leonor, the future queen of Spain

Princess Leonor in December 2018

Princess Leonor in December 2018. | Shutterstock

Leonor de Todos los Santos de Borbón y Ortiz was born in Madrid on the 31st October 2005. Apart from being the princess of Spain, she also holds the titles of Princess of Asturias, Princess of Girona and Princess of Viana.  She has been the heir to the throne since his father, Felipe VI, became the king of Spain on 19 June 2014 after the abdication of his own father, Juan Carlos I.

Leonor attended the school of Santa María de los Rosales in Aravaca, Madrid. Her sister Sofía is enrolled there too, just like his father was. Apart from learning English and Mandarin, in 2021 she started a 2-year IB Diploma Programme at the United World College of the Atlantic, in Wales. Her education places great value on developing a set of international skills for her future role as a queen.

2023 will be an important year for Princess Leonor. In fact, she is expected to finish her International Baccalaureate in Wales, and she will also turn eighteen. Once she becomes of legal age, she will have to pledge allegiance to the Spanish Constitution. Moreover, Leonor de Borbón will travel to Asturias to attend the ceremony of the Princess of Asturias Awards, just like every other year.

Infanta Sofía of Spain: the younger daughter of the Royal Family

Princess Leonor and Infanta Sofía

Princess Leonor and Infanta Sofía. | Shutterstock

The second daughter of the king and the queen of Spain was born on 29 April 2007, also in Madrid. Sofía de Todos Los Santos de Borbón y Ortiz was named after Sofía of Greece and Denmark, mother of Felipe VI and former queen of Spain. Hence, Infanta Sofía bears the name of her grandmother.

Sofía holds the title of Infante of Spain from birth. It is important to remember that, in Spain, the sons and daughters of the monarchs are not necessarily princes and princesses—in fact, only the heirs to the Crown are. Therefore, we have Princess Leonor, first in line to the throne; and Infanta Sofía, second on the succession line.

Royal blood: the birth and the future of Leonor and Sofía

Leonor and Sofía in Palma de Mallorca

Leonor and Sofía in Palma de Mallorca, 31 July 2017. | Shutterstock

Only a few people seem to know, even in Spain, a peculiar fact regarding the birth of Leonor and Sofía. Both sisters were born by means of a caesarean section, and Felipe and Letizia made a decision that would lead to some controversy: they asked to extract their daughters’ umbilical cord stem cells and sent them to blood banks.

When the princess and her sister were born, there was a specialist doctor in the room whose job was to collect their umbilical cords. The security measures involved in this process were, of course, worthy of royalty. The cord blood bags were securely sealed and sent to their respective institutions. Leonor’s stem cells are stored at a private blood bank in Tucson, Arizona. When it comes to Sofía, they extracted two separate blood bags from her umbilical cord and they sent them to two different institutions in Europe—a public blood bank in Spain and a private one elsewhere.

“Why would they do that?”, you might ask. Well, from what we know today, the benefits of cord blood banking are still uncertain. A baby’s cord blood can be used to transplant stem cells and tackle potential health problems, and some parents bank their baby’s blood as “biological insurance” against future diseases, but it is only rarely used. Moreover, were there a genetic component to the disease, it would also be in the stem cells.

Princess Leonor and Infanta Sofía

The princess of Spain and her sister are the future of the Spanish Crown. | Shutterstock

Either way, there is no doubt that the king and queen of Spain have their eyes on the future of the Crown. All the decisions regarding the health and education of Leonor and Sofía are tailored to the roles they were expected to play from birth, considering they already are representatives of the Royal Family and one of them will be the next person sitting on the Spanish throne. Princess Leonor and Infanta Sofía are the future of the Spanish monarchy, and we will hear more of them as the years go by.

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