Princess, Then Queen, Leonor

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    Princess Leonor wears a military uniform on her first day at the General Military Academy in Zaragoza, Spain, on August 18, 2023. (Archie Andrews/ABACAPRESS.COM)
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    Princess Leonor starts her training at the General Military Academy. (Archie Andrews/ABACAPRESS.COM)
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    Leonor prepares to deliver a speech at the 2022 Princess of Asturias Awards ceremony in Oviedo, Spain, in October 2022. The awards honor people or groups responsible for achievements in sciences, humanities, and public affairs. (AP/Alvaro Barrientos)
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    Leonor, center, leaves the 2022 Princess of Asturias Awards ceremony with King Felipe VI, left, Queen Letizia, center bottom, and her sister Sofia, right. (AP/Alvaro Barrientos)
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    King Felipe kisses his daughter, Princess Leonor, after presenting her with the insignia of the Order of the Golden Fleece at the Royal Palace in Madrid, Spain, in 2018. (Juan Medina via AP)
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Just another student heading to military school—or is she? With the name Leonor de Todos los Santos de Borbón y Ortiz, this new cadet is guaranteed a big promotion: She’ll be queen of Spain.

Princess Leonor was born on October 31, 2005, to then-Prince Felipe and then-Princess Letizia. Nine years later, her parents became king and queen when her grandfather abdicated.

Now 17, Leonor is in line for the Spanish throne. She’s known for years she would one day be queen—unless her parents had a male child. Under Spanish law, a male always inherits the throne before a female, no matter the birth order.

Leonor’s father trusted she would reign too. King Felipe made her a knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece one day before her 10th birthday.

Jesus also knew from childhood that He would be the ultimate sovereign. God promised a King, or Messiah, to deliver humankind and restore people’s relationships to God. That King was Jesus Christ. Unlike earthly monarchs, Jesus is eternally fit to be a perfect ruler. He turned the idea of power on its head when He summarized His leadership as serving rather than being served. (See Matthew 20:28.)

Future-Queen Leonor isn’t sidestepping her service responsibilities. In August, the Spanish queen-in-waiting took the next step in her training. Already an accomplished student (she speaks four languages!), Leonor will attend military school for three years of drills, exercises, and instruction.

Spanish Defense Minister Margarita Robles calls Leonor’s military stint “an essential step in the life of Her Royal Highness . . . toward the leadership of our country.”

King Felipe, Queen Letizia, and their younger daughter, Princess Sofia, accompanied Leonor to the General Military Academy. The school trains Spain’s army leaders. The queen-to-be will spend one year there. She will then continue to a Spanish naval school. That part of her coursework will include sailing Juan Sebastian Elcano, a training ship. Leonor will finish her studies at Spain’s General Air Academy.

Spain’s government and the Royal House have agreed Leonor’s “very intense” military training will precede university studies. This arrangement follows the path taken by both her grandfather, King Juan Carlos I, and her father, King Felipe VI.

Leonor’s parents say their daughter has shown “her will, interest, and enthusiasm” to receive the military training that moves her nearer to becoming the supreme commander of Spain’s armed forces—and the crown.

Why? The status of “royal-in-training” doesn’t afford a life of leisure and being served. Royal leadership instead comes with responsibilities and burdens in order to serve others.

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