ON 22 May 2004, Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano became Queen of Spain when she tied the knot with the King, Felipe V1.
The couple celebrate their 17th anniversary today – and a lot has happened over the past 15 plus years.
Not only have the King and Queen welcomed two children – Leonor, 14 and Sofia, 15 – they have also visited dozens of countries and engaged in a number of charity campaigns.
Here are the most memorable details of the royal couple’s big day.
How did the couple meet?
They first met at a dinner party thrown by a mutual friend on October 17, 2002. The then Prince was said to have been instantly attracted to the journalist, but the pair kept their courtship tightly under wraps and very few people were even aware that the pair had been dating for over a year when the engagement was announced.
However the signs where there, with the video of their initially meeting showing sparks flying as they shook hands.
The couple announced their engagement on November 1, 2003. Days later, the two share a laugh as they pose for photographers in an official engagement ceremony at the garden of El Pardo Palace.
Where did King Felipe and Queen Letizia get married?
The couple’s wedding took place on May 22, 2004 at Madrid’s Almudena Cathedral, with Letizia accompanied by her dad, Jesus Ortiz, to the chapel.
Cardinal Antonio Rouco Varela, the archbishop of Madrid who presided over the ceremony, told them not to fear the demands being placed on them as future rulers. “Your beloved family members and the good people of Spain are at your side,” he said.
Who designed Letizia’s dress?
It was the first royal wedding in Spain since 1906 and the biggest European marriage celebration since the Prince of Wales wed Diana Spencer in London in 1981 – but Letizia train wasn’t quite as long as Lady Diana’s 25-foot silk number, at 15 feet long and embroidered with heraldic symbols.
The off-white wedding dress, designed by Manuel Pertegaz, had long sleeves and was woven with Valencia silk and embroidered with silver and gold threads. Letizia also wore a diamond-and-platinum tiara, which was her ‘something borrowed, owned by Greek-born Queen Sofia who wore at her wedding to Juan Carlos in Athens in 1962.
Who was part of the bridal party?
Joining Letizia as part of the wedding ceremony was her sisters Telma and Erica but it was her little bridesmaids that stole the show – the three young flower girls (Prince Felipe’s niece Victoria, Letizia’s niece Carla Vigo Ortiz and Victoria Lopez-Quesada y de Borbón-Dos Sicilias, granddaughter of Infante Carlos, Duke of Calabria) wore cream and gold silk dresses trimmed in lace embroidered with the same motifs as Letizia’s veil.
Who were the guests at the wedding?
There were upwards of 1,400 wedding guests in the chapel – most of Europe’s royalty was there, including Prince Charles and Queen Rania of Jordan.
UK politicians David Cameron, Nick Clegg, Alex Salmond, Boris Johnson and their wives were also in attendance, as was Nelson Mandela, the former South African president.
What did they do after the ceremony?
After the wedding, the pair climbed into their Rolls-Royce to enjoy a procession through the streets of Madrid, waving at the thousands of well-wishers who lined the streets. The ceremony was seen as a cathartic event for the country after the terrorist attacks that killed 191 people at railway stations in Madrid on March 11.
Following the street procession the newlyweds arrived at the Royal Palace. After hours of rain, the sun finally broke through as Felipe and Letizia came out onto the balcony to greet cheering royal fans in Madrid’s Plaza Oriente below.
During the couple’s lavish wedding banquet, Prince Felipe delivered a touching speech to his new wife. He said: ”I am a happy man because I have fulfilled my most precious dream. I have married the woman I love.”
Queen of culture! Letizia of Spain is perfectly polished in white