Heritage

Spanish Royals King Felipe and Queen Letizia Release Their Annual Christmas Card

The photo features the couple with their two daughters, Princess Leonor and Princess Sofia.
IMAGE GETTY IMAGES / EUROPA PRESS
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Yes, royals send Christmas cards—but they carry a bit more significance than the average family's holiday update.

Take this year's card from Spain's King Felipe and Queen Letizia. It features a sweet photo of the royal couple and their two daughters, Princess Leonor and Princess Sofia, and a message of Merry Christmas and a happy New Year. But beneath the surface, it hints at the future of the monarchy.

The photograph is from the family's trip to the Principality of Asturias in Spain, which served as Leonor, Princess of Asturias's first official visit as heir to the throne. (The title Princess of Asturias indicates Leonor's status as the heir apparent.)

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Although Leonor is still only 13, the royal family has already begun to groom her for her future role—and channel her importance to the Spanish people. Just this October, the teenaged princess delivered her first public address, in celebration of the 40th anniversary of Spain’s Constitution. And back in January, King Felipe presented Leonor with Order of the Golden Fleece at the Royal Palace in Madrid—another "symbolic step" in her path to the throne.

In their own way, the previous reigning King and Queen, King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia, also used their Christmas card to point forward. Rather than using a painted portrait, as the couple have in years past, the card features a crisp photograph of the two together.

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Both cards feature the families' respective signatures on the back. The two princesses' penmanship is perhaps the sweetest, in that it betrays their youth. No matter—decades of royal duties will tighten that up soon enough.

This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.

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