Letizia's battle lines are drawn

You've got to hand it to this queen. Anyone who can look that good on a day when their royal dynasty took a wobble has got some oomph. As her husband's reign headed into uncharted waters of chaos as one part of his kingdom threatened to leave while his former principality declared him persona non grata, Letizia faced them all down single handedly. The Spanish Royal Family has barely been seen in public since the disputed referendum in Catalonia and King Felipe's controversial speech in its wake. But Letizia opened the palace doors and marched out all on her own. Letizia has drawn the battle lines and she clearly means business.

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To be fair, she was among friends. The woman who famously told the news before she started making it herself was at an awards ceremony in Madrid honouring journalists. She needed mates around her. In the hours preceding her appearance, the Catalan government began to debate whether it should declare independence and then announced it would meet early on Friday to make a decision. But around the same time, politicians in Madrid are preparing to trigger article 155 of the Spanish constitution which will impose direct rule on Catalonia. Spain is in chaos and this is quite possible the calm before the storm. Like them or loathe them, it takes a brave royal to come out in that heat. Letizia more than managed it.

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The Queen of Spain was presenting annual awards honouring outstanding achievement in journalism and there was no hiding behind her fringe and hoping no one noticed. Letizia wore deep red, the colour of her country's flag and long associated with the Royal Household, as well as some of the joyas de pasar, the sparkling diamonds that once belonged to Ena who decreed they could only ever be worn by Spanish queens. Of course, because this was Letizia it was all very modern with the red coming in the form of a jumpsuit and the diamonds in the shape of a single, stylish bracelet. It certainly made an impact.

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Friday traditionally marks the day that the Spanish Royal Family publishes its agenda for the coming week but the times they are a changing. There is little doubt that King Felipe could well be occupied with politics in the days ahead but with things moving at such a breakneck speed and with no clearer picture now of what the future holds than anyone had at the start of the day, it is impossible to predict. One thing we do know is that, just as on a chessboard or in tales of old, you need to watch the queen. And Letizia has shown us tonight that you can put as many chips down as you like, she'll match you all the way. Hats off to that queen.

Photo credit: casareal Twitter.