Spain's new queen gives up rock for throne

Spain's new queen gives up rock for throne
Spain's King Felipe VI is congratulated by Spain's Queen Letizia and Spanish Crown Princess of Asturias Leonor at the Congress of Deputies, Spain's lower House in Madrid on June 19, 2014 for a swearing in ceremony of Spain's new King before both houses of parliament.

MADRID - As Spain's glamorous new queen, 41-year-old Letizia will surrender a tiny corner of privacy that had allowed her to sneak out with friends to cafes, plays and rock concerts.

The elegant royal's secretive mingling with the public, often with a few girlfriends and in non-regal attire, has provided rich fodder for the Spanish gossip media.

The blonde-haired former television news presenter was snapped in jeans and black leather jacket in April last year outside a Madrid concert by US alternative rock group Eels.

A few months earlier, she joined spectators at a concert by 1990s Spanish indie group Los Planetas. And she is apparently a big fan of Las Vegas band The Killers, seeing them in Madrid in September 2012 and again at the FIB rock festival in the eastern beachside town of Benicassim in July last year.

The life of the taxi-driver's granddaughter is set to change dramatically, however, now that her husband Felipe has been sworn in as king, making her Spain's first "middle-class" queen. She stood beside him at Thursday's swearing-in wearing a simple knee-length white dress and white jacket.

'Something was not right'

Letizia's outings when she was princess really began to make headlines last year in gossip media, which alluded to rumoured problems in her relationship with Felipe, said royal watcher Jose Apezarena.

"The royal household let the princess know that her repeated outings gave the impression that something was not right," said Apezarena, author of "Felipe and Letizia. The conquest of the throne", published this year.

Born on September 15, 1972 into a middle-class family, Letizia Ortiz was already in her 30s when she met Felipe, who she married in 2004. A divorcee, she had already forged a career in television news and had her own tastes.

She took on her new role "like a real job and applied her previous work methods", Apezarena said. Letizia is described by her circle as having been "responsible" and a "perfectionist" since her youth, he said.

As the spouse of the heir to the throne, she took part in weekly meetings of the royal household. Not coming from royalty and still in touch with old friends, she brought a fresh point of view, "a different sensibility from that of the king's household", Apezarena said.

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