Who’s who of the Spanish Royal Family

princess of asturias© Casa de S.M. el Rey

The Spanish Royal Family has dealt with its fair share of controversy in the past few years. With all their time in the news, it can be not very clear to remember the family members. To help, Royal News is breaking down who’s who of the Spanish Royal Family. 

King Felipe

Photo by Ian Jones/CC/Foreign Office/Flickr

King Felipe was born to King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia during the dictatorship of General Francisco Franco on 30 January 1968. Although he is the youngest of the King and Queen’s three children, he succeeded his father to the throne as Spain abides by male preference primogeniture. Felipe’s father became King of Spain when he was eight years old. Felipe trained in the military and studied in Canada, Spain and the United States. He married journalist Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano in 2004 and has two children. Felipe became the King of Spain in 2014 upon his father’s abdication. 

Queen Letizia

© House of HM the King

Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano was born on 15 September 1972 in Asturias, Spain. She has two sisters, Telma and the late Erika. Letizia had a successful career as an award-winning journalist for CNN+, Bloomberg, and EFE, among others. She was married to Alonso Guerrero Pérez from 1998 to 1999. Most were shocked when then Prince Felipe’s engagement to Letizia was announced in 2003 as many did not know they were dating. They married on 22 May 2004 in Madrid. They have two children: Leonor and Sofia. Letizia became Queen consort of Spain when her father-in-law, Juan Carlos, abdicated in favour of Felipe in 2014. 

Princess Leonor

© House of HM the King / Francisco Gómez

Leonor, Princess of Asturias the elder child of King Felipe and Queen Letizia. Born during the reign of her grandfather, she is now first in line to the throne. Leonor was born on 31 October 2005 and upon her 18th birthday in 2023, she swore an oath to the Spanish Constitution as its future monarch. She studied in Spain and finished her compulsory education in Wales at the United World College. She is currently undergoing military training for three years to prepare her for her future role as Queen of Spain.

Infanta Sofia

© House of HM the King / Francisco Gómez

Infanta Sofia was born on 29 April 2007 to King Felipe and Queen Letizia during the reign of her grandfather, King Juan Carlos. Named after her paternal grandmother, Sofia undertakes some royal engagements with her parents and sister. She is currently studying in Wales at the United World College of the Atlantic. She is second in line to the throne. 

King Juan Carlos

© House of HM the King / DVirgili

King Juan Carlos was born on 5 January 1938 as the son of Infante Juan, Count of Barcelona and Princess Maria of Bourbon-Two Sicilies in Rome, Italy. His grandfather was King Alfonso XIII who was sent into exile with the Royal Family in 1931 after the declaration of the Second Spanish Republic. Juan Carlos has two sisters and a younger brother. He and his sister, Margarita, are the only two remaining alive. He was educated in Spain after his father persuaded dictator General Francisco Franco to allow it. Franco later chose Juan Carlos as his successor to the regime. What he didn’t know was that Juan Carlos planned to bring democracy back to Spain once he was on the throne. He became King of Spain on 22 November 1975 and democracy was restored. He married Princess Sophia of Greece and Denmark in 1962 and they have three children (Elena, Cristina and Felipe). Juan Carlos abdicated in 2014 in favour of his son after controversies regarding a hunting trip and the charges against his daughter, Cristina. He retired from public life in 2019. 

Queen Sofia

sofia spain

© Casa de S.M. el Rey

Princess Sophia of Greece and Denmark was born on 2 November 1938 in Athens, Greece, to King Paul and Queen Frederica. She has two younger siblings, Princess Irene and the late King Constantine of Greece. She and her family were forced into exile during World War II and she was educated across Europe. She competed for Greece alongside her brother in the 1960 Olympics. Sophia married Juan Carlos on 14 May 1962 in Athens; she converted to Roman Catholicism from Greek Orthodox and changed the spelling of her name to the Spanish Sofia. She and Juan Carlos have three children: Elena, Cristina and Felipe. Sofia became Queen consort of Spain when her husband ascended the throne after the death of General Franco. Juan Carlos abdicated in 2014, but Sofia still undertakes some royal duties on behalf of her son. 

Infanta Elena

By Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED) – La Infanta Doña Elena con el rector de la UNED, Juan A. Gimeno, en el Pabellón de Universidades Públicas Madrileñas y UNED, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

Infanta Elena is the eldest of King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia’s children. She was born on 20 December 1963 – before her father took the Spanish throne. Even though she was born first, her younger brother, Felipe, became King of Spain as the country abides by male preference primogeniture.  She was educated in Spain and briefly taught English at her former school. Elena married Jaime de Marichalar, Lord of Tejada, and her father made her the Duchess of Lugo after her wedding. Elena and Jaime had two children, Felipe and Victoria. They divorced in 2010. Elena represented the Royal Family across the globe but undertakes fewer royal duties now that her brother is on the throne. She is third in the line of succession. 

Infanta Cristina

Juan Manuel Herrera / OAS

Born on 13 June 1965, Infanta Cristina is the second child of King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia. She was educated in Spain and the United States and even served as a UN goodwill ambassador for the 2nd World Assembly on Aging. Cristina competed in the 1988 Olympic Games for Spain and later met her husband, Iñaki, at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia. They married in 1997 and had four children, Juan, Pablo, Miguel and Irene. They divorced in 2023. While she represented the Spanish Royal Family during the reign of her father, she is no longer an active member of the family since the corruption scandal with her ex-husband. She and Iñaki were accused of embezzlement and tax fraud and she became the first member of the Royal Family to be put on trial (money laundering charges against her were dropped but the tax fraud remained). In 2017, Cristina was acquitted of the charge while Iñaki was imprisoned. While she was acquitted of the charges against her, King Felipe stripped her of her dukedom in 2015. She retained her title of infanta and her place as sixth in the line of succession.

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About the Author

Brittani Barger
Brittani is from the United States and has been researching, writing and reporting on the royals for over a decade. Successfully gaining exclusives and interviews with royals across the globe, Brittani left her role as an editor for another news site to help bring you Royal News. She's been seen on BBC World, WION News and other news programs to discuss the royal families.

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