The engaged couple (Copyright: Bernard Rübsamen/Royal Portraits)
Rumours about the Prince of Asturias having a serious girlfriend started only on October 31, one day before the actual engagement announcement that was released at 19:30 on November 1.
Letizia and Felipe met at a dinner party at a common friend's house in September 2002. The relationship however only became more serious a few months ago. Only family and a few friends knew about the relationship. Felipe is said to have introduced Letizia to his parents one and a half month ago. Only a week before the engagement Letizia, as a journalist, attended the handing over of the Prince of Asturia Awards by the Prince of Asturia himself. At the end of the ceremony Felipe greeted all attending members of the TVE team with a handshake, including his secret fiancée Letizia.
The announcement of the engagement took place exactly 26 years after Felipe received the titles of Prince of Asturia, Prince of Girona and Prince of Viana.
The wedding of Felipe and Letizia will be the first marriage in Spain of a Prince of Asturia in 97 years. The last one, of the future King Alfonso XIII and Princess Victoria Eugenia of Battenberg in 1906.
Sus Majestades los Reyes tienen la gran satisfacción de anunciar el compromiso matrimonial de Su hijo, Su Alteza Real el Príncipe de Asturias Don Felipe, con Doña Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano.
La petición de mano tendrá lugar en el Palacio de la Zarzuela el próximo jueves, día 6 de noviembre.
La boda se celebrará a principios del verano de 2004 en la Catedral de Santa María la Real de la Almudena de Madrid.
Palacio de la Zarzuela, 1 de noviembre de 2003
Their Majesties the King and Queen have the great pleasure to announce the engagement of their son, His Royal Highness the Prince of Asturias Don Felipe, with Doña Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano.
The asking of the hand will take place next Thursday, November 6th, at the Palace de la Zarzuela.
The wedding will be celebrated at the beginning of the Summer of 2004 at the Cathedral of Santa María la Real de la Almudena in Madrid.
Palace de la Zarzuela, November 1st, 2003
At 6:30am Letizia left her apartment in the Valdebernardo quarter in Vicalvaro, Madrid. Since she lives in the palace of King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain.
To the big joy of the press and the Spaniards the Prince of Asturias and his fiancée Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano already appeared in public together today. In the evening they posed for the gathered press outside the house of the Prince of Asturias at the Zarzuela Palace complex.
Felipe: We wanted, once we made the official announcement of our engagement, to appear before you all and the Spanish population to thank you for the numerous samples of affection that we have received these two days and also to be together. I am very happy to be able to show how happy our engagement has made me and how in love I am with Letizia. For every couple, it is an important step to become engaged. I say to you with conviction that Letizia is the woman with whom I want to share my life and to form a family and in addition, as to the Crown, I have the security of knowing that Letizia unites all the qualities and capacities necessary to assume the responsibilities and functions as Princess of Asturias and as future Queen of Spain. Our coming together allows us to give continuity to the parliamentary monarchy as it consecrates our Constitution. But above else, We present ourselves here in love, committed, with conviction and full of hope and, of course, devoted to serving Spain and the Spaniards. Thanks.
Letizia: I understand the surprise that this decision caused nearly everyone, but it is a mature decision, the fruit of very intense reflections and covered with the weight and the sureness of the deep love that we have ourselves and of the course that we've undertaken together. From when I was very young I was always a journalist and until the 31 years that I am now, I have exerted my profession with desire, dreams, determination and in that same way I now confront what we started now, with responsibility, vision and hard work to serve Spain and the Spaniards.
Afterwards they visited a concert by violinist Mstislav Rostropovich in honor of the Spanish Royal family at the Royal Theatre in Madrid. The concert was attended also by among others King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain, Infanta Elena and Don Jaime de Marichalar.
The official presentation and press conference took place in the garden of the El Pardo Palace at 12:30. There were more than 300 people from the press present. Just before the official engagement ceremony (peticion de mano) took place inside the palace, in which the Prince of Asturias officially asked for the hand of Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano.
Felipe: El anillo...
Letizia: Ensena los gemelos.
Show the cuff-links.
Felipe: La boda, como saben, será a finales de primavera o a principios de verano. Hay que definir la fecha; entonces, no queremos hacer ningún anticipo de fechas para que
nadie se equivoque.
The wedding, as you know, will take place at the end of spring or the beginning of summer. We still have to choose the date; so we don't want to make any announcements about the date to not cause any rumors.
In the meantime Letizia greets the press.
Felipe (at the question when they took the decision to get married): Pues, cuando la tomamos?
Well, when did we decide it?
Letizia: Hace tiempo.
Some time ago.
Felipe: Hace suficiente tiempo. Lo que pasa es que necesitamos... hubiéramos necesitado un poco más de tiempo para preparar todo esto, pero, bueno, por lo menos teníamos la
confianza de tener la decisión tomada.
It has sufficiently been long enough. What happened is, that we need... we needed some more time to prepare all this, but well, at least we had the confidence that the decision was taken.
Letizia: Y la convicción. Ha sido difícil [ser discretos], y más conociendo a mis compañeros. Ha sido difícil.
And the conviction. It has been difficult [to be discrete] and more with my friends knowing about it. It has been difficult.
Letizia (about gifts): Es un anillo, creo que de oro blanco, y así...
It's a ring , I believe it is made of white gold, and here... (she shows the ring)
Felipe: Un diseno moderno...
A modern design...
Letizia: No sé cómo poner la mano...,qué hago?...
I don´t know how to show my hand... this way...?
Felipe: A mí unos gemelos de zafiros y oro blanco.
I got cuff-links made of sapphires and white gold.
Letizia: ...Sí, ahora di lo de las...
...Yes, now I gave these...
Felipe: Aparte tenemos otros regalos que nos vamos a dar luego, aunque ya nos los hemos anticipado. Yo le voy a dar una joya familiar y...
Apart we also have other gifts that we will give to each other later, but we already told each other about them. I will give her a family piece of jewellery and ...
Letizia (interrupting him): Yo una joya literaria, un libro muy bonito que estaba buscando hace tiempo, de 1850, de Mariano José de larra, una edición preciosa, con una
historia caballeresca del siglo XV. Bueno, un libro que quería para él.
I gave him a literary gift, a beautiful book he had been searching for for a long time, from 1850 by Mariano José de Larra, a precious edition, with a chivalrous story from the 15th century [El doncel de don Enrique el Doliente]. Well, a book I wanted him to have.
Felipe: ..Es una joya familiar con perlas y zafiros. Un collar.
It's a family piece of jewellery with pearls and sapphires. A necklace.
Felipe (about the future marriage): Bueno, como ya os dije el otro día, el lunes, significa sobre todo...[pide silencio]... significa sobre todo la continuidad, permite dar
la posibilidad de tener un eslabón más en la cadena de la dinastía y que nos engarza con la Historia. Aparte, me permite pues incorporar un valor, un activo, a mi trabajo y a
la función representativa y, bueno, para el trabajo por el bien de los intereses generales de los espanoles. Y, personalmente, por supuesto, un tremendo apoyo por sus cualidades
y su valía. Van a ser fundamentales y van a dar grandes frutos.
Well, as I've already told you the other day, Monday, first of all it means... [asks for silence]... first of all it means the continuation, it allows the possibility of another link in the dynastic chain, that connects us with history. Apart from that it allows me to integrate a value, an active one, to my work and the representative function and to improve my work in the general interests of the Spanish people. And, personally, of course a tremendous support for its qualities and values. They are going to be fundamental and are going to be a big benefit.
Letizia (asked about her future professional plans and if she's going to accompany Felipe on his voyages): Bueno, en principio, desde el anuncio del compromiso y desde hoy,
en la petición de mano, queda claro que es un punto y aparte en la labor profesionalque he ejercido hasta ahora. Lo que sí es deseable, lo que vamos a intentar es que de forma
gradual yo me desvincule de Televisión Espanola, no inmediatamente. Y también está claro que,a partir de ahora y de forma progresiva, voy a integrarme y a dedicarme a esta nueva
vida, bueno, pues con las responsibilidades y obligaciones que conlleva y con el apoyo y el carino de los...
Well, principally, since the announcement of the engagement and since today, the asking of the hand, it is clear that this is a point in the professional work I was exercising until now. What I wish, what we intend to do is that I'll slowly leave TVE, not immediately. And it's also clear that from now on and in a progressive way, I'm going to intigrate and dedicate myself to this new life, well, with the responsibilities and obligations that go with it and with the support and affection of...
Felipe wants to interfere.
Letizia: ..Déjame terminar...!el carino de los Reyes y, por supuesto, el ejemplo impagable de la Reina.
... Let me finish...! the affection of the King and Queen and of course after the priceless example of the Queen.
Felipe: No le va a faltar trabajo y va a tener el día bien ocupado.
She will have enough work to do and will have very busy days.
(Asked about the qualities of each other)
Felipe: A mí preguntas primero? Bueno, hay muchas, evidentes a los ojos de todos, pero creo que su elocuencia y su intelegencia, su espíritu de responsabilidad en el trabajo, su coraje, creo que todo eso ha sido muy importante. Tiene unos principios, una rectitud y una ejemplaridad en el trabajo que siempre me han impresionado y, desde que la conozco, mucho más.
You're asking me first? Well, there are many, evidently in the eyes of many, but I believe, her eloquence and intelligence, her spirit of responsibility in her work, her courage, I believe all that has been very important. She has many principles, a rectitude and exemplary nature with her work, that has always impressed me and since I know her, much more.
Letizia: De antes también, eh? En mi caso, pues es un ser humano exeptional, es muy respetuoso y muy sensato, inteligente, un gran lector, algo que para mí es muy importante.
Desde luego, una persona afanada en crecer por dentro y en tener una visión del mundo y de la vidda muy justa y muy comprometida.
Also before, eh? On my side, he is an exceptional human being, he is very respectful and sensitive, intelligent, a great speaker, which is very important for me. For a while, he has been interested in personal growth and to have a vision on the world that is very just and he is very dedicated to it.
Felipe: Esto te lo voy a recordar, eh?
I'm going to remind you of this, eh?
Felipe (about descendants): Eso no lo podemos decidir del todo, pero, bueno, la intención es que, bueno, quizá por encima de dos y por debajo de cinco.
We can't say this for sure, but, well, the intention is, well, maybe more than two and less than five.
Letizia: Hey!/Go on!
Felipe (Asked if they'll going to do their first voyage together to Asturia): No lo sabemos todavía, pero obviamente Asturias será un punti importante en el calendario, no sé
cuándo ni cómo...
We don't know that yet, but of course Asturia will be a very important point on the calendar, I don't know when or how...
Letizia: Un salud con mucho carino. Tengo muchas ganas de ir, la verdad. Porque fui en los premios Príncipe des Asturias, pero tengo ganas de volver, claro que sí.
A greeting with lots of affection. I truly desire to go there. Because I went to the Príncipe of Asturias Awards, but I would like to return, of course.
Felipe (about how long they've known each other): Bueno, la primera vez que nos conocimos fue hace más de un ano, pero, bueno, fue un encuentro casual y no tuvo ninguna
consecuencia. Fue en la primavera cuando entablamos más contacto y aquello fructificó.
Well, the first time we met was a bit more than one year ago, but, well, it was a casual meeting without any consequences. It was during the spring that we started to have more contact and the relationship developed.
Felipe (asked if they have been together on Saturday when the Palace gave the notice he answered affirmative. So the journalist went on asking if they´ve been in Spain or
abroad): Estabamos fuera de Madrid. Si les parece, ahora vamos para allí...
We have been outside of Madrid. If you want to know, we are going there now ...
Letizia: Ahora entiendo a los comparecientes en las ruedas de prensa, ahora los entiendo.
Now I understand the participants of press conferences, now I understand them.
Felipe: Bueno, pero tampoco es tanto.
Well, but now the shoe is on the other foot.
Letizia: No, no, pero ahora la moneda cambia.
No, no, but now it´s getting expensive.
They say goodbye.
Felipe: Gracias a todos y esperemos que estos seis meses, ocho meses o los que sean, sean... ilusionantes.
Thank to all of you and we expect that the next 6 months, 8 months or how many there will going to be, will be ... magical.
Letizia: Gracias, gracias, de verdad.
Thanks, Thanks very much.
Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano was born at the Hospital General de Asturias in Oviedo (in Asturia) on September 15, 1972. She was baptised on September 29, 1972, at the Iglesia Parroquial del Santo Cristo de las Cadenas in Oviedo. She is the eldest daughter of Jesús Ortiz Álvarez (53 years old, son of José Luis Ortiz Velasco and Menchu Álvarez del Valle) and Paloma Rocasolano (51 years old, daughter of Francisco Rocasolano and Enriqueta Rodriguez). Her parents divorced in 1998 and her father is engaged to marry Ana Togores now. Her father founded the tv-channel Antena 3. Letizia's mother is a nurse and union official who works in a clinic in Moratalaz, Madrid. Letizia's paternal grandmother was a well known radio broadcaster in Asturia for over 40 years. Letizia has two sisters: Telma (Oviedo, October 25, 1973) and Erika (28 years old) who is married to Antonio Vigo and has a daughter, Clara.
From her 8th year she went to school at the public Colegio La Gesta I in Oviedo, which she left in 1986. She loved literature, music and ballet. Then she studied at the Instituto Alfonso II and later at the Centre Ramiro de Maeztu in Madrid. After earning a degree in information sciences at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. After receiving a Master's degree in audiovisual journalism she pursued postgraduate studies in Mexico City, where she also worked for the newspaper Siglo XXI.
Letizia started her career at the Asturian daily La Nueva España, ABC and the international editing desk of Agencia EFE, Spain's news agency. Later, she joined the United States' Bloomberg financial TV network, which in Spain is under the supervision of Agencia EFE Television. Following a stint as newscaster, editor and reporter for CNN Plus, in 2000 she joined Televisión Española (TVE), where she has edited news and anchored newscasts, in addition to hosting specials and reporting major news, such as the 2000 election in the USA, the attacks of September 11, 2001 and the situation in Iraq in 2003, as special on-site correspondent. She currently anchors TVE's daily Telediario 2, together with TVE news director Alfredo Urdaci. In 2001, she shared the Larra Award, awarded by the Madrid Press Association to upcoming journalists, with another young reporter. Her last appearance on TVE was on October 31, one day before the announcement of her engagement to the Prince of Asturias.
Letizia married Alonso Guerrero (born 1962) in a civil ceremony on August 7, 1998, in Ayuntamiento de Almendralejo, Badajoz. They divorced one year later. He has since remarried Maria del Carmen Astero. Since no church wedding was held at the time, the Roman Catholic Church is not expected to oppose Letizia remarrying.
Thanks to Luli, Kika and Heather for the translations.