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Spain’s future queen has been sworn in in a fragile and complicated political environment.


Leonor de Bourbon y Ortiz


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Princess of Asturias, heir to the Spanish throne

Unique symptoms

Blue eyes, renewal, stress

Why are we talking about it?

Infanta Leonor was now 18 years old, making her eligible to succeed her father Felipe VI to the Spanish throne. He was sworn in before an extraordinary session of both houses of parliament convened this week, swearing to “faithfully carry out” his duties, “protect and uphold the Constitution and laws, and respect the rights of citizens and autonomous communities”. and to be loyal to the king.

A rehabilitated monarchy

The Spanish monarchy has weakened considerably in recent years. Numerous scandals associated with King Juan Carlos (corruption, money laundering, dubious gifts, extravagant spending) have broken the bond of trust between the royal family and the Spanish. Leonor’s performance is a new step in the rehabilitation process led by Felipe VI, who sought to restore the family image after the abdication of his father (2014). “They continue this work of reestablishing the monarchy using the princess, her youth and her influence,” confirms Benoît Bellistranti, an expert on contemporary Spain.

Photo by Manu Fernandes, Associated Press

Princess Leonor and her father, King Felipe VI

A functioning political system

Like the United Kingdom, Spain is a parliamentary monarchy. The government has no real legislative power. But it is essential for the functioning of institutions and a symbol of national unity. For Benoît Pellistrandi, Leonor’s performance ensures the future of a functioning political system. “This gives constitutional Spain a little more leverage compared to those who believe the model is out of date. »

Get out of resistance and crisis

You should know that republican sentiment is strong in Spain among the extreme left (Podemos) and the Basque or Catalan independence parties. In 2020, 41% of Spaniards said they were in favor of a republic (Institut 40 db). In 2023, according to a Sigma Dos survey, 64% of Spaniards found the image of the crown improved, not favoring the monarchy. “We will never be able to recover the membership rates of the beginning of the 21st centurye century, which is impossible, admits historian Jordi Canali, professor at the School of Advanced Studies in Social Sciences in Paris. But opinion polls show people approve of Philip VI’s job. Since 2014, the Spanish monarchy has been exemplary, transparent and helpful. So I think he is out of crisis. »

First Queen since 1868

Leonor’s performance is also symbolic of the new role of women in Spanish society, which is trying as much as possible to break free from the culture of machismo. The “forced kiss” scandal rocked Spanish football at the end of the summer and led to a three-year ban for confederation president Luis Rubiales. “We present this young woman as a symbol of this equality of women and men that we have achieved in democratic Spain,” underlines Benoît Pellistrandi. When she ascends the throne, Leonore will become the third queen in her own right, the only queen consort in Spain’s history since Joan I.Re Castile, “The Madwoman” (1504-1555), and Isabella II (1833-1868).

A fragmented political landscape

The princess’s pledge comes amid uncertainty in the Spanish political scene. The July elections did not produce a clear winner, with outgoing Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez currently trying to form a government coalition. But its success depends on the support from Belgium of Junts per Catalunya, the Catalan independence party led by Carlos Puigdemont, which is calling for amnesty for all political prisoners jailed or deported after the illegal 2017 referendum. Sánchez did not close the door to compromise , much to the consternation of the right and especially the far-right Vox party, which organized a large demonstration last weekend in Madrid against such an agreement. A poisoned alliance? “It’s going to be weak, obviously,” says Jordi Canale. But I don’t think the separatists will stop there. Will they support the government in the long run? At what price? »

Photo by Oscar del Pozo, Agence France-Presse

Princess Leonor greets the crowd after her inauguration in Madrid on October 31.

People and politics

Long shielded from the media eye, Leonor would gradually enter corporate life and the emotional memory of Spaniards. Her clean figure and blue eyes are much seen in the gossip magazines. But above all she had to complete her military service and university studies. “I hope she is saved from all the affairs People It will not fail to arise, concludes Benoît Bellistrandi. Getting the crown is not that easy…”

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