Crown Prince Philippe was considered quite the eligible bachelor for years, and it came as quite a surprise when the Royal Family announced his engagement to Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano on November 1, 2003. The statement from the palace read, “Their Majesties the Kind and Queen have the great satisfaction to announce the engagement of His son, His Royal Highness the Prince of Asturias Mr. Felipe, with Mrs. Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano. The proposal of marriage will be held in the Zarzuela’s Palace next Thursday, 6th November.The wedding with take place at the beginning of 2004’s summer it the Cathedral of Saint Mary the Real of the Almudena in Madrid.”
At that point, the public didn’t even know that the couple had been dating and the couple had only known each other for less than a year. It must have been even more of a surprise since Letizia was already somethiing of a known figure due to her career as a television journalist.
Ok, so what are they talking about when they say that the “proposal of marriage will be held…next Thursday”? Following tradition, Prince Filipe formally proposed to Letizia at Pardo Palace outside of Madrid. It was during this ceremony that he presented her with the engagement ring, a significant white gold band of diamonds. In return, Letizia gave the Prince sapphire and white gold cufflinks.
Here’s a closeup of Prince Felipe showing off his snazzy new cufflinks:
After the official engagement ceremony, the future King and Queen of Spain gave an interview during which the Prince shared that he admired Letizia’s “eloquence, intelligence and courage.” For her part, Letizia said that Prince Felipe is “an exeptional human being.”
The future Princess of Asturias had been married once before, to school teacher Alonso Guerrero Pérez. The marriage took place after a decade of dating in 1998 and was dissolved in 1999. Since that marriage involved only a civil ceremony, the Roman Catholic Church does not consider it valid, which meant that Prince Filipe and Letizia could marry in the Catholic Church for their wedding. Wonder what they would have done if that hadn’t been the case!
The couple married on May 22, 2004, just a little over two weeks after Prince Frederik of Denmark married Mary Donaldson. Princess Letizia’s dress ranks amongst our top ten favourites. Check out our post on royal wedding dresses here.
We’ll end today with this favourite shot of the Spanish couple’s wedding: