Letizia of Spain: the inside story of an 'obsessive' queen
The Queen of Spain, Letizia, is one of the most beautiful royals in Europe. She grew up as a commoner and met the King while she was working as a news anchor. Since then, her star has risen and so have the myths surrounding the monarch. She is said to be 'controlling,' insecure, and 'obsessive.' Read about Letizia's hidden stories and weaknesses here.
The secrets and inside stories of Queen Letizia have been compiled by Argentinean journalist Leonardo Faccio. He captured seven years of research and more than one hundred interviews with people close to her in the book 'Letizia, the Impatient Queen' (La Reina impaciente). Each of the following revelations about Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano's life come from Faccio's book.
Faccio's book explains that the queen was named Letizia with a Z in honor of an Italian friend of her mother.
Letizia has always been a person who demands much of herself as well as others. As a child, she took ballet lessons from Professor Marisa Fanjul who followed the strict method of dancer Agrippina Vagánova. She even called herself Marisova after her teacher.
Professor Marisa Fanjul recalls in the book that Letizia had the most difficulty with elasticity. She was highly self-demanding and constant, however. To this day, the Queen has wanted to transmit the passion of ballet to her daughters and it is not unusual to see them attending performances at the Royal Theatre.
Letizia was a committed student at her high school, but not necessarily an 'A' student. Her English teacher says that the Queen-to-be could not imitate the Oxford accent of her teacher very well.
At age sixteen, Letizia fell in love with Alonso Guerrero, a literature teacher at her high school. He was nine years older than her. They had a relationship of ten years before getting married in a modest civil ceremony in 1998. The marriage would last only one year.
It is widely known that Letizia was humble commoner who made her way up as a journalist. In college, she scored only the minimum to pass subjects like Economics, Communication Theory, Legal Sciences and Sociology, Faccio reports. Yet, she scored an average of 8.13 out of 10 in her penultimate year of university.
Letizia pursued her master's degree in Mexico and wrote for a newspaper while she was there. Before traveling to Mexico in 1994, Letizia tried to attend the Latin American Meeting of Journalism Programs in Colombia. Realizing she did not have enough money for the registration, Letizia offered to work for the congress in exchange for an entrance ticket.
To pay the rent for her apartment in Mexico, Letizia worked as a promoter for Boots, a cigarette brand. "To do this, she faked a Mexican accent and wore a red scarf around her neck and cowboy boots."
To this day, Leonardo Faccio tells us, Letizia smokes sigarettes. Her favourite brand is Marlboro, she admitted to Vanity Fair.
Letizia has regarded South America as a refuge. Apart from her studies in Mexico, she honeymooned in Cuba after marrying Alonso Guerrero and would also spend a few days on an indigenous reserve in Costa Rica before announcing her engagement to Philip of Bourbon.
Back in Spain, Letizia worked as a television reporter and even became the anchor woman of a national news broadcast. Faccio says she was insecure about her looks. "Letizia has always been obsessed with her chin and her nose." Cosmetic expert Carmen Navarro reveals that she was also very concerned about sun spots under her eyes.
At the desk of newspaper 'Siglo 21', Letizia wore glasses to look more intellectual, its editor Diego Petersen reveals.
It seems that the confidence she showed on camera as a reporter and presenter was not a reflection of reality. According to Faccio's book, she would ask her colleagues or cousin David Rocasolano after each broadcast how they thought she'd done. "Letizia is an insecure person, quite fragile," the cousin says. She "even suffers from certain unexplainable physical symptoms."
Faccio describes Letizia as a slightly "obsessive" and "manic" person. As a reporter, she even cleaned her news agency phone handset with alcohol every day.
According to Faccio's book, Letizia was called Fictizia or Blonde Ambition (La ambición rubia) in her days as a television journalist. She earned these name by having somewhat despotic interactions with the technicians of her TV channel. Nowadays, in the Royal House, they call her La Jefa (The Boss).
Both as a journalist and as a queen, Letizia is known to be controlling. She has even "asked the Spanish Post Office to check the accents on capital letters in the telegrams she sends," Leonardo Faccio says on the basis of people close to her.
The first time Letizia saw Philip of Bourbon, she was nine years old. The Prince was thirteen and passed by her house in Oviedo in an escorted car.
According to Faccio's book, two other men were important in Letizia's life, apart from King Philip and Alonso Guerrero (on this photo). She also dated journalists David Tejera and Luis Miguel González, the latter being the editor of newspaper 'Siglo 21.'
Letizia continues to meet with her ex-husband Alonso Guerrero. From time to time they have coffee. "I wouldn't say I'm an anchor to her," he says, "but I'd say I'm a solid guy because I haven't changed." Guerrero, nine years Letizia's senior, adds: "She always listened to me. Now she's a good friend."
Today, as Queen of the catholic nation of Spain, Letizia has no choice but to attend many religious events. However, in the words of José Infante, a colleague she had at TVE, Letizia once told him that she was an agnostic and that religion did not interest her. In a TV program about religion, she made more than one substantial mistake.
Before marrying Prince Philip of Bourbon, Letizia had to answer some delicate questions to an archbishop. The main questions was, why Letizia wanted to marry the Prince in the church after having married her ex-husband in a civil procedure only. Her response: "I have seen the light. When I met Philip I saw the light of the Catholic faith."
While her switch to religion is remarkable, her sudden adherence to the monarchy may even be more so. According to a colleague of Letizia in EFE, the current Queen of Spain had always been a republican in the past.
Whenever her institutional responsibilities allow it, the Queen gets up at 6:15 a.m. to have breakfast with her daughters.
Her alleged obsession with protecting the privacy of her daughters would have led Letizia to prohibit relatives from bringing cameras into her home and taking photographs with her daughters, Faccio reports.
In April 2018, Letizia refused to have her daughters photographed at the Palma Cathedral with their grandmother, Queen Sofia. It was one of the biggest scandals of the Royal Family. The reason for her objection, Faccio says, was that Letizia wanted her daughters to have a secular image. Grandma Sophia broke the alleged deal between them by trying to get her picture taken with the princesses inside the cathedral.
Letizia is so concerned with her appearance that reportedly she deletes all the photos taken by the Royal House photographers that she does not like.
According to Royal House staff, the Queen does not drink anything when she is being photographed, because she thinks it's not a good pose in photos and it ruins her make-up.
To keep fit, Letizia sometimes runs through the woods near the Royal Palace of la Zarzuela. She also practices yoga and sometimes zumba in a gym at the Palace.
Letizia hates the noise of helicopter propellers, the engine smoke and the wind that ruins her hair, Faccio reports.
It's no secret that the Queen is a film and music lover. On one occasion, Letizia confessed to artist Joaquin Sabina that she would like to meet singers Serrat, Ana Belén, and Victor Manuel, as well as actress Penélope Cruz. One night in 2005, Sabina fulfilled that dream and brought them all together at his home for a dinner with Letizia and Philip.
Letizia is such a fan of cinema that she even appeared in a short film by Norberto López titled 'La mirada del ángel' (The gaze of the angel). Nowadays it is difficult to find images, because the Royal House allegedly tried to eliminate them. However, a search on the internet will yield a few shots of the film.
Letizia was the muse of Cuban artist Waldo Saavedra during her time in Mexico. He recorded her beauty in several paintings. One of them appears on the cover of an album by the Mexican group Maná. Another work, called 'La maja desnuda', inspired by Goya's paintings, is in the home of a Mexican businessman. In this work, the mermaid's body is reportedly not her own... just the face.
Faccio reports that on one occasion, Letizia met a former colleague from the EFE agency in the bathroom of a cinema. The colleague asked her why she had left her profession. Allegedly, Letizia answered: "for love."