Spain’s Crown Princess Leonor will begin three years of military training this fall

The heiress to the Spanish throne is Crown Princess Leonor, a 17 year old. She is dutifully preparing for her future role – so far, she’s been mainly educated in Spain, but she’s currently in a program at Atlantic College in Wales, which she will complete this summer. Instead of going straight to university or perhaps taking a gap year to be a normal teenager, Leonor has announced her plans to begin her three-year mandatory military training. That’s certainly a choice.

Crown Princess Leonor of Spain is getting ready to report for military duty. The Royal Household of Spain announced in a press release this week that Leonor, 17, will begin three years of military training later this year to prepare for her future role as the country’s head of state. Leonor, who is also known as Her Royal Highness the Princess of Asturias, is the oldest of King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia’s two daughters. As first in the line to the Bourbon throne, she will become supreme commander of Spain’s armed forces when her father steps down from his position or dies.

The royal’s training will begin in August after she finishes studying at the UWC Atlantic College in Wales, where she is studying for an International Baccalaureate alongside Princess Alexia of the Netherlands, 17.

Princess Leonor will take part in her first year of training at the Army Military Academy in Zaragoza, before moving on to a naval school, and then finishing her studies at the General Air Academy in Santiago de la Ribera, 280 miles southeast of Madrid.

During a press conference on Tuesday, Spanish Defense Minister Margarita Robles spoke about Princess Leonor’s upcoming military service.

“In the Cabinet Meeting today, we have approved a royal decree whose aim is to give structure to the military training and career of [Princess Leonor],” Robles said, per CNN. “It shows that we will have, when the time comes, a supreme commander who is a woman. And in recent years, we’ve made a big effort to incorporate women into the armed forces.”

Noting that an heir “has to have a military background and a military career” throughout “all parliamentary monarchies,” Robles added, “It’s an essential step in the life of Her Royal Highness … toward the leadership of our country.”

[From People]

I get that they want the future queen to have some military background, but is it a rule to do three years of training before university? I wonder. In the British royal system, the habit is more towards university education first, then Sandhurst. That’s what Charles did, that’s what William did. Will Leonor go to university after her military training? Will she have to sleep in the barracks? This poor kid. I mean, she seems bright and capable, but three years is a long time to be in military training.

Look at her trousers, blazer and flats! These are photos from December, when she did an event with the Red Cross.

Photos courtesy of Backgrid.

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47 Responses to “Spain’s Crown Princess Leonor will begin three years of military training this fall”

  1. Peanut Butter says:

    Good for Princess Leonor! I hope her military program will be a great confidence and skill builder for her. As a trivial aside, she has gorgeous hair.

  2. Tulipworthy says:

    Love her outfit and she is georgeous.

  3. Visa Diva says:

    It’s a similar path to Princess Elisabeth of Belgium, who did military training first. Princess Catherine-Amalia of the Netherlands is doing university and I’m not what the plan is for military.

    • Mary says:

      Yes but Elisabeth’s military training was only a year. 3 years is a loooong time! I’m thinking either it is what Leonor wants to do or she met someone in Wales her parents are trying to keep her away from!

  4. Dss says:

    She’s gorgeous but I wonder what’s is going on with her teeth.

    • Misa says:

      She has normal human teeth, and a very cute smile.

      • Tennyson.Sarah says:

        Leonor suffers from hereditary agenesis. Her teeth didn’t grow out because of an absence of primordial tissue.
        She actually has braces in her posterior sectors, or the back if you prefer.
        It might take a year, or more for her canines to come out.
        Her sister was wearing regular braces.
        Europe is backwards in dentistry and orthodontics, but not that much nowadays.
        The young girl is accepting her smile as it is.
        Everything that can be done is being done.

      • SJ (they/them) says:


      • Cinthia says:

        In the Spanish constitution it states that the King(Queen) will be head of the arm forces captain general so it would look bad if they did not have a complete understanding of the army and it’s culture.
        Also, the royal house along with the government have designed a special program for Leonor so that some of the classes taken at the military academies will be transferable to what ever university she chooses when she leaves the army. So she won’t be too far behind.

      • Eleonor says:

        European dentistry is perfectly fine, we appreciate natural smiles over fake too much white awful veneers.

      • BeanieBean says:

        No, this isn’t normal. She’s 17 & should have all but her wisdom teeth by now. I see from Tennyson.Sarah, there’s an explanation for that. It’s good to note she’s not self-conscious about her smile. Lovely girl. Kate ought to copy her style! 😉

    • Amanda says:

      I find in Europe, they don’t push braces as much as in North America.

      • Hyacinth Bucket says:

        That’s why many Europeans feel American smiles are artificial. A full mouth of evenly placed super whites just isn’t natural. Look at Vanessa Paradis and others, it’s ok to have natural teeth, even a gap.

        (My parents made me wear braces and got rid of the gap, because my mom didn’t like it and I still miss my gap.)

    • Lorelei says:

      @DSS, what’s wrong with her teeth? They look absolutely fine to me in these pictures…? I think that overall, she’s beautiful. (And how embarrassing for Kate that a 17-year-old knows how to dress more professionally than she does.)

      • Dss says:

        Tennyson.Sarah provided an excellent explanation. she’s gorgeous but I surmised there was a medical issue.

      • Sam says:

        It’s not uncommon for some teeth (especially incisors) not to come out on their own. I hope she doesn’t mind, as a young girl it’s even harder to be in the public eye, especially now with social media.
        Also: she recently gave a minute-long, really professional speech. As a 17 year old! When I see something like that, my respect for Kate falls even more and I actually thought that it didn’t even exist anymore…

  5. Amy Bee says:

    Leonor is a better dresser than Kate. I’ll assume she’ll go to university after the military. I suspect this is a PR move to show that she’s serious about being Queen.

    • Lauren says:

      Fortunately for Kate it’s unlikely that Leonor will go to the coronation since she doesn’t turn 18 until after.

  6. Loretta says:

    She’s so lovely and looks a lot like Letizia. She will grow into a great beauty

  7. H says:

    Hey, the title of Crown Princess of Spain does exist, so her title is Princess of the Austurias, same as how the heir to the UK is styled Prince of Wales.

  8. Brassy Rebel says:

    Spain has not had a female monarch since Isabella back in the day. She is the only queen regnant they ever had. Getting Leonor military training right away is probably meant to reassure skeptics in this deeply conservative, very Catholic country that she is up to the challenge. It won’t be easy for her in a nation that has no modern history of a queen.

    • MMC says:

      As far as I know, Spain is very very progressive in terms of feminism, so I wouldn’t say this has much to do with that.
      Plus, I find that most European Catholic countries are the same, do I wouldn’t say it’s a matter of religion.

    • Nikomikaelx says:

      Spain is not that conservative,

    • notasugarhere says:

      Less than 30 percent of Spaniards identify as Catholic. That stated, the sexism continues. That’s why Letizia announced they were expecting a girl the second time, to stave off talk that Leonor might not be the heir. They never did change the laws officially to eliminate male primogeniture.

      • Valeria says:

        They did in fact change the laws to allow for a female queen, Leonor is next in line.

    • BeanieBean says:

      And apparently they’ve only recently come around to the idea of women in the military?

  9. SMS says:

    Spain is not at all a conservative country. They were the third country in the world to approve gay marriage, have had two majority female cabinets, under Zapatero and Sanchez, male primogeniture for titles was abolished in favor of absolute primogeniture and they’ve had several queens, Urraca, Beregaria, Isabella the 1st, Joanna and Isabella the 2nd. They’re much more progressive that the US or UK. If Leonor has issues being accepted it has to do with low support for the monarchy.

  10. Eurydice says:

    Her military training seems to be all at military academies. Maybe they are like the military academies in the US and include university education.

    • Lauren says:

      Yes they do include university education, Leonor will have a final year at a regular university in order to complete her bachelors.

    • FHMom says:

      That is good, because otherwise 3 years of military training sounds excessive. If she’s getting an education in addition to training, I can understand why it’s that long.

  11. jgerber says:

    I LOVE this. If only William and Kate had some military discipline, a work ethic and a motto of service and self-sacrifice, they wouldn’t be the bloody wankers they unfortunately are. Incubus and succubus, is that right? I don’t mean that sexually, but blood-suckers, the ones who devour all indiscriminately.

  12. Lauren says:

    Of the 3 young heiresses Leonor is the youngest, although second in line at the moment Ingrid Alexandra of Norway is usually included in the group bringing the total up to 4.
    Elizabeth, the oldest at 22, completed 1 year of military training before starting university at Oxford.
    Catherine-Amalia of the Netherlands is not required or expected to complete any military training so she has started university in Amsterdam.
    Ingrid Alexandra is, like Leonor, in her final year of high school but so far there has been no announcement of her plan for next year.
    Unlike in the UK where royals barely manage their undergraduate degrees all 4 princesses are expected to continue their education and get a Masters like their fathers did.

    • notasugarhere says:

      It will be interesting to see if they follow their footsteps to the Ivy League in the US. Berkeley undergrad (Haakon). Some time at Yale (Victoria). Some time at Harvard (Fred). MA from Stanford (Philippe). MA from Georgetown (Felipe).

      • HH says:

        Felipe has an MSFS, not an MA. (master of science in foreign service). I was completing my BSFS when he (and Pavlos) were there.

      • Truthiness says:

        I’m sure Leonor could attend any college or university in the U.S. if she or her family should ever want that. As an aside, Berkeley, Stanford, and Georgetown are not Ivy League, it’s not a generic term.

  13. aquarius64 says:

    This is a 17 yr old heiress to the Spanish throne who is getting better prepared for the Crown than William ever was (and still isn’t). And George doesn’t look like he has received any basic training in becoming a monarch.

    • kchu says:

      He’s 9!!! A kid, lay off, what’s wrong with you????

    • Lauren says:

      When you look into the education and training of Williams contemporaries you quickly realize the British Royal family are lightweights in comparison.
      Don’t even get me started on the public speaking either

  14. Chaine says:

    It’s still sad to me that her career choices are not her own. At least she appears to be taking it positively unlike some royal heirs.

    • RoyalBlue says:

      The Spanish courtiers are running the show and likely directed her path, just like the Bee, Fly and Wasp. Seeing as she will be the leader of the troops, it will fare her well that she is serious about her training.

  15. DARK says:

    If military training is mandatory it makes sense to get it out of the way before university. That way she can stay in step with her age group who would not want a gap between uni and getting their first full time job.

  16. Scout says:

    This is a family who is raising their royal kids right.

    I’m not thrilled at how Felipe allowed his family to use Letizia as the media’s whipping post in exchange for hiding Cristina/Inaki/The King’s crimes…. But Letizia seems to be ok with it…

  17. Harla A Brazen Hussy says:

    It’s really quite possible that the Leonor is excited about joining the military, perhaps it’s her decision and desire to do this. Many young women dream of joining the military, Leonor might be one of them.

  18. Bee says:

    if it’s mandatory, calling it a choice is… a bit of a choice.

  19. Rackel says:

    I’m surprised that the Spanish is still allowing non-spanish to rule them. All of queen Victoria kids should be sent back to Germany/denmark/England. They aren’t impressive.

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