Monday, 25 November 2013

Monarchs in training

Her voice has rarely been heard in public until now but as the Spanish royal family left the Quiron clinic in Madrid after visiting King Juan Carlos, it was the Infanta Leonor who led the family's interviews with journalists.  The eight year old, who one day will be queen of Spain, answered several questions from journalists as she ended her hospital visit alongside dad, mum, granny and little sis, Sofia.  And if she looked a little bit nervous at times - who could blame her with just a few dozen people shouting at her and letting flashes off in her face - she's now got her first big public moment out of the way.  Just like her fellow heirs across Europe.

A future queen steps up to the mic - Leonor of Spain, aged eight, leads the royal family's chat with journalists after a visit to King Juan Carlos in the Quiron Hospital in Madrid
Leonor has often seemed hidden from view compared to her counterparts in royal courts across the continent.  Until this year, she and her own heir, Sofia, were rarely seen in public with occasional photo opportunities at Easter and in the summer and a quick snap on a Christmas card to round things off.  But in 2013 they have been much more high profile and Leonor's leading role in answering press questions about her grandfather seems to be another step in a bigger public presence for the future queen and her sister.  Leonor's parents and grandmother didn't try to intervene and let her handle everything and while her answers were short and sweet, she handled it all with a confidence that's not been seen before. Suddenly, Leonor has a profile.
Ready for another question?  Leonor in her first big royal moment
She is playing catch up a bit.  In several other European countries, the future monarchs have already carried out official dutites.  The future Norwegian queen, Ingrid Alexandra, has several engagements under her belt and all before her 10th birthday.  Earlier this year, she visited an environmental project with her parents with proud mum, Mette-Marit, tweeting a lovely photo of the family in their car on their way to Ingrid's big event.  Alongside regular appearances at big events like Norway's national day, this queen in waiting already has a high public profile balanced with privacy in her day to day life.
All grown up all of a sudden - Princess Ingrid Alexandra of Norway on her way to an official engagement with mum on hand to chronicle the day
Prince Christian of Denmark was perhaps the most eager to get started on a long life of official duties - his first engagement was in 2008 when he helped his granddad, Prince Henri, open a new elephant house at Copenhagen Zoo.  He's carried out several other public events since, usually with mum and dad on hand to help out.
Grandad may not have a crown of his own but he led the way in teaching Denmark's future king how to cope with the public life that awaits him
And the eldest of Europe's next wave of heirs, Princess Elisabeth of Belgium, also got into training early.  She made her first speech on the day she carried out her first major public engagement, opening a children's hospital named after her.  The princess was just shy of her tenth birthday when she stepped into the public limelight in her own right.  And like all the heirs at the start of their long road to monarchy, she had mum and dad there to offer support.
 Mum Mathilde is on hand to help Elisabeth of Belgium as she makes her first speech while proud dad leads the applause and you don't row with a prince who wants you to cheer his little girl's big achievement
Leonor may be the last to enter the public fray but there's no doubt that the duties that await her will be as long lasting and heavy going as those her counterparts are undertaking.  And for now, just like the others, she has the protection of her parents as she learns the ropes. 

No comments:

Post a Comment