THE moving tribute to the Queen from her distant cousin King Felipe of Spain yesterday showed exactly how close the two royal families are.
Insisting she ‘set an example’ to the world and that her legacy would last for generations, showed how fond of Elizabeth he was.
You could see how well they got on during the days they spent together in the UK in 2019, and you could see it with his own father during visits the Queen made to Spain in the 1980s.
Felipe actually addressed Queen Elizabeth as ‘Aunt Lilibet’ and referred to the late Duke of Edinburgh as ‘Uncle Philip’.
The strong bond between the families is because Queen Sofía of Spain’s grandfather was the uncle of Elizabeth’s husband.
The Duke of Edinburgh, who died in 2021, was the son of Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark and Princess Alice of Battenberg. His uncle was King Constantine I, the grandfather of Queen Sofía.
So Felipe’s letter, shared with the Olive Press yesterday evening from the Casa Real press office, showed an understandable depth of feeling.
Writing to her son Charles, the new King, Felipe wrote on behalf of he and Letizia:
‘Your Majesty, dearest Charles,
‘Deeply saddened by the sorrowful news of the passing away of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, your beloved Mother, I would like to offer Your Majesty and the British people, on my behalf and on behalf of the Spanish Government and people, our most heartfelt condolences.
‘Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth has undoubtedly witnessed, written and shaped many of the most relevant chapters in the history of our world during the last seven decades. Her sense of duty, commitment and a whole life devoted to serving the people of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland set an example for all of us and will remain as a solid and valuable legacy for future generations.
‘Queen Letizia and I send Your Majesty and the whole Family our love and prayers. You are all in our hearts and thoughts. We will miss Her dearly.
‘With all my friendship and affection,’
It demonstrates the warmth between the British and Spanish royal families and the frequent correspondence between the various monarchs.
The last time Queen Elisabeth came to Spain was back in October 1988, when she visited Mallorca, spending two days on the island with Prince Philip.
It was a successful trip which began when they were met in the port by the previous monarch, King Juan Carlos I and wife Sofia.
The Spanish media reported that both of them were wearing ‘very summery clothes’ even though it was autumn. And during their trip they visited many beauty spots, including Andratx, Valldemossa and La Mola.
They stayed at the Palacio de Marivent, which is the official Royal residence near Palma, and after lunch they went up into the Sierra de Tramuntana.
The following day they spent time on the royal boat, El Fortuna, with the Duke of Badajoz, Luis Gomez Acebo, and Pilar de Borbon.
They reportedly went home ‘very happy’ with the way they had been treated by the Spanish royals during their stay.
The last time that the Spanish Royal family officially met the Queen was in 2019 when King Felipe was decorated with the prestigious Order of the Garter at Windsor Castle.
The king visited with his glamorous wife Letizia and the pair were photographed at various different events with the Queen and Prince Charles during the visit.
The most recent published correspondence was another heartfelt letter sent to Elizabeth last April after husband Philip’s death.
Once again addressing her as ‘aunt Lilibet’, King Felipe and his wife Letizia showed great warmth for their British cousins.
The letter read:
‘Dear Aunt Lilibet,
We were deeply saddened to hear of the passing of our dear Uncle Philip.
At this painful time, we would like to convey to you our deepest condolences on behalf of the Spanish Government and the people and all our closeness and support.
We will never forget the occasions we were able to share with him and the legacy of service and dedication to the Crown and the United Kingdom that he always carried out at your side. Our thoughts and prayers are with Your Majesty and the whole family. With all our love and affection,’
MORE ROYAL THAN BOTH OF THEM
Curiously, neither the King of Spain, nor Queen Elizabeth, were the most titled or noble royals in Europe.
That honour went to the Duquesa de Alba, Cayetana Fitz-James Stuart, who had more titles than anyone else in Europe.
According to folklore, she could cross the whole of Spain without leaving her land and should she have met the Queen of England formally, the Queen should have had to curtsey to her.
Fortunately this never happened as the Duchess – who was also known as Cayetana de Alba – had a very close relationship with Queen Elisabeth.
They became friends when Cayetana studied in London and she remained a lifelong lover of the city, frequently visiting throughout her life.
The duchess, who died in 2014, told the Olive Press in an exclusive interview a decade ago that she had indeed ‘loved living in London’ and that her favorite shops were Selfridges and Marks & Spencer.
“I always stay at Claridges when I am there, it’s divine,” she said. “I love visiting all the art galleries and watching operas.”
For the record, her full name was: María del Rosario Cayetana Paloma Alfonsa Victoria Eugenia Fernanda Teresa Francisca de Paula Lourdes Antonia Josefa Fausta Rita Castor Dorotea Santa Esperanza Fitz-James Stuart y de Silva Falcó y Gurtubay.
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