Style Weddings

Thursday 20 June 2019

A look back the Spanish royal wedding 15 years ago (and the controversies that came with it)

Spanish Crown Prince Felipe de Bourbon and his bride, Princess Letizia Ortiz pose for a picture after their wedding ceremony at the Almudena cathedral May 22, 2004 in Madrid. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)
Spanish Crown Prince Felipe de Bourbon and his bride, Princess Letizia Ortiz pose for a picture after their wedding ceremony at the Almudena cathedral May 22, 2004 in Madrid. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)
Spain's Crown Prince Felipe de Bourbon walks next to his bride Letizia Ortiz during their wedding ceremony in Almudena cathedral May 22, 2004 in Madrid. (Photo by Gustavo Cuevas/Pool/Getty Images)
Spanish Crown Prince Felipe de Bourbon and his bride, princess Letizia Ortiz leave the Almudena cathedral after their wedding ceremony May 22, 2004 in Madrid. (Photo by Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images)
Crown Prince Felipe de Bourbon kisses his new wife Princess Letizia Ortiz during the celebratory wedding banquet at the royal palace May 22, 2004 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Ballesteros-Pool/Getty Images)
Spain's Crown Prince Felipe de Bourbon stands next to his bride Letizia Ortiz as they marry in Almudena cathedral May 22, 2004 in Madrid. (Photo by Manuel H. de Leon /Pool/Getty Images)
Spain's Crown Prince Felipe de Bourbon walks next to his bride, princess Letizia Ortiz after their wedding ceremony in Almudena cathedral May 22, 2004 in Madrid. (Photo by Lavandeira jr/Pool/Getty Images)
Spain's Crown Prince Felipe de Bourbon stands next to his bride Letizia Ortiz as they marry in Almudena cathedral May 22, 2004 in Madrid. (Photo by Manuel H. de Leon /Pool/Getty Images)
Caitlin McBride

Caitlin McBride

Spain's Queen Letizia and King Felipe are celebrating 15 years of a happy marriage today, but theirs - like seemingly all royal weddings in history - wasn't without controversy.

Before exchanging vows at the Almudena cathedral in Madrid on May 22, 2004, the couple had experienced their fair share of upset as Spanish citizens, like most residents in countries with royal families, felt an ownership of their then-Crown Prince and the suitability of his bride, who would one day be queen.

Letizia (née Ortiz) has journalism in her blood: her father Jesús José Ortiz Álvarez was a well-known journalist in Spain and she completed a bachelor's degree in the field at Complutense University of Madrid, a master's degree in audiovisual journalism at the Institute for Studies in Audiovisual Journalism and was on the road to earning a PhD in Mexico before she decided to move back to Spain.

By the time she met Felipe, was an established newsreader, having worked for Bloomberg and CNN, and was the weekly news anchor at TVE; but she was also divorced. Letizia ended her first marriage after just one year and much like Meghan Markle, was criticised by far-right Catholics for being both a divorcée and also the first non-noble blooded woman to be in line to the throne.

Spain's Crown Prince Felipe de Bourbon walks next to his bride, princess Letizia Ortiz after their wedding ceremony in Almudena cathedral May 22, 2004 in Madrid. (Photo by Lavandeira jr/Pool/Getty Images)
Spain's Crown Prince Felipe de Bourbon walks next to his bride, princess Letizia Ortiz after their wedding ceremony in Almudena cathedral May 22, 2004 in Madrid. (Photo by Lavandeira jr/Pool/Getty Images)

If it had been written as fiction, some would say it was too far-fetched: he reportedly saw her reading the news and requested an introduction and began pursuing her before she eventually agreed to a date.

Felipe and Letizia kept their relationship largely secret before announcing their engagement in 2003 and the Spanish royals gathered in unison around the couple, including then King Juan Carlos (before he abdicated in 2014) and Queen Sofia.

Their union was also the first royal wedding on Spanish soil in some time and helped with the positive publicity and eventually widespread public approval. Because her first wedding was a civil ceremony, the Catholic Church did not recognise it and allowed her to wed in the church one year after announcing her engagement.

The dress, designed by Manuel Pertegaz, had an elaborately made train at 4.5 metres with sheaf embroidery, a veil that stood for a metre long and she wore The Prussian Tiara, a loan from her mother-in-law's extensive jewel collection, a fitting welcome as she wore it on her own wedding day in 1962.

Crown Prince Felipe de Bourbon kisses his new wife Princess Letizia Ortiz during the celebratory wedding banquet at the royal palace May 22, 2004 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Ballesteros-Pool/Getty Images)
Crown Prince Felipe de Bourbon kisses his new wife Princess Letizia Ortiz during the celebratory wedding banquet at the royal palace May 22, 2004 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Ballesteros-Pool/Getty Images)

The tiara was debuted in 1913 by Princess Viktoria Luise for her wedding to Prince Ernst August of Hanover before it was transferred to former Princess Sophia of Greece and Denmark, now Queen Sofia.

The guestlist comprised of high-ranking royals the world over, including Queen Rania of Jordan, Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, Crown Princess Mette Marit of Norway, Queen Máxima and King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, Prince Albert of Monaco and Britain's Prince Charles.

The newylweds took part in a procession through the streets of Madrid before celebrating the night away at at an intimate bandquet at the Royal Palace, during which Felipe paid touching tribute to his new wife in a speech, saying: " "I am a happy man because I have fulfilled my most precious dream. I have married the woman I love."

Spanish Crown Prince Felipe de Bourbon and his bride Letizia (C) stand next to Spanish King Juan Carlos (L), and Queen Sofia (R) as they appear on the balcony of the royal palace after their wedding ceremony May 22, 2004 in Madrid. (Photo by Ian Waldie/Getty Images)
Spanish Crown Prince Felipe de Bourbon and his bride Letizia (C) stand next to Spanish King Juan Carlos (L), and Queen Sofia (R) as they appear on the balcony of the royal palace after their wedding ceremony May 22, 2004 in Madrid. (Photo by Ian Waldie/Getty Images)

Online Editors

Editors Choice

Also in this section