Heritage

Watch the Tense Moment Between Queen Sofia and Queen Letizia

Is there a royal rift between Queen Letizia of Spain and her mother-in-law Queen Sofia?
IMAGE Fermín R.F./ WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
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Families typically get together for the Easter holiday, and the royal family is no exception. In Spain, it was the first time in four years former King Juan Carlos, who abdicated in 2014, joined the rest of his family in the celebration, so the occasion was somewhat special. But noticeably, there was tension between Queen Letizia, wife of King Felipe VI, and her mother-in-law, Queen Sofia. Spanish papers were quick to publicize a small dispute between the two queens, which was caught on video.

The members of the family were exiting Palm Cathedral in Mallorca after attending Easter Sunday mass. The 79-year-old Queen Sofia was shuffling to gather her grandchildren, Princess Leonor, 12, and her sister Infanta Sofia, 10, for a photo op. Awkwardly, the children’s mother, Queen Letizia, flew in and paced in front of the trio. It looked like Letizia was trying to shield her daughters from camera’s lenses while she spoke with her mother-in-law. Princess Leonor, who is heir to the throne, forcefully took her grandmother’s arm off her shoulder, not once, but twice. King Felipe intervened by coming between the two queens and squeezing his wife’s arm, while Juan Carlos looked on.

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As if that wasn’t embarrassing enough, the show continued at the door of the church. The girls seemed free of their grandmother’s embrace but as Queen Sofia hovered closer, Queen Letizia again made an effort to walk in front of the girls, back facing the cameras. Throughout this ordeal, the 45-year-old Queen was smiling and pushing her daughter’s hair away from her face. Eventually, the younger Queen succumbed and the entire family posed for a photo.

Watch the video below:

A source close to Queen Letizia told El Circulo that she had spoken to the queen, who was “worried and quite desolated by this situation.” She adds that “[Letizia] is very committed to the care of her daughters, with the protection of their image, she worries who takes photos of them.” The source dismisses the issue as a “motherly reaction.”

Records of Letizia’s relationship with her mother-in-law show that at the beginning, she was very grateful for the support Sofia gave her after the announcement of Letizia’s engagement to then Prince Felipe.

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After the birth of the girls, Sofia tried to visit her granddaughters as much as possible, until there came a time when she was less welcomed to her son’s home, reports El País, which hints at the long-standing but quiet tension between the two queens.

Queen Letizia and King Felipe have since carried on with royal engagements after the incident.

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About The Author
Hannah Lazatin
Senior Staff Writer
Hannah is a communications graduate from Ateneo de Manila University. She’s originally from Pampanga and from a big, close-knit family who likes to find a reason to get together at the dinner table. Experiences inspire her. “Once, at a restaurant, I received an interpretation of my second name ‘Celina,’ and it meant 'someone who tries everything once' and that is me through and through,” she says. As for the job, she wants her “readers to be inspired by the stories of the people we feature and to move them to reach for greater things.”
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