20th anniversary of the wedding of the Kings: this is how Don Felipe and Doña Letizia have changed

Carlos Gardel said in the tango “Volver” that “Life is a breeze, 20 years is nothing”. Those of us who already style gray hair know well how quickly time passes. It seems like it was yesterday when, in the middle of the rain, the guests of the Royal Family crossed the space between the Royal Palace and the Almudena Cathedral. At that moment, everything was hope and unknowns. A new member arrived to the Royal Family, Doña Letizia. How she would adapt to a task so different from the one for which she had been trained naturally aroused uncertainties that, little by little, dissipated.

Photographs of the Royal Family for the twentieth anniversary of SS.MM. the KingsHouse of HM the King

Experts say that, just as there are silver weddings -25 years- or golden weddings -50 years- those that commemorate 20 years are called “porcelain”. Porcelain is a delicate material that should be cared for with care. Just as it should be done with a marriage in which the small everyday twigs must feed the fire of love, composed – among other things – of understanding and forgiveness. Celebrating twenty years of marriage is a time to look back but also – and especially – to learn from what happened and face the future with renewed courage.

Difficult decisions

Don Felipe VI and Doña Letizia have navigated these years through sometimes turbulent, but always stimulating, waters. He, as a result of that “education at the wheel” typical of the crown princes, had already absorbed multiple lessons that had shaped him and prepared him for his future role. An intense, exhaustive, demanding and arduous training, necessary to face difficult decisions such as – in fact – are the ones he has had to face in recent years. She, on the contrary, was destined in principle to follow in the footsteps started by her paternal grandmother María del Carmen “Menchu” Álvarez del Valle, a radio journalist, and her great-aunt Marisol del Valle, also a radio journalist and professor of Audiovisual Communication. But man proposes and God disposes. They met, fell in love, married and have dedicated their lives to the good of Spain..

Kings Felipe VI and Letizia, on the central balcony of the Royal Palace where they came out to greet the Spanish people after the monarch's proclamation today in the Cortes.
Kings Felipe VI and Letizia, on the central balcony of the Royal Palace where they came out to greet the Spanish people after the monarch's proclamation today in the Cortes. Juan Carlos CardenasEFE Agency

Don Felipe, with her help, has learned to face public speeches with greater ease, without stage fright. She has assimilated the need for prudence in expression and – without losing her autonomy and personality – to be the support and firm support of the monarch. Marriages are an intimate form of teamwork. When both spouses, as is the case, work in the same company, in the same, let's say, “professional” project – although each one has their own function – there is no room for diachrony, but rather a forced concordance of desires and illusions is imposed. . Each of the royal consorts, I am sure, pull the cart in the same direction and in the same direction, although with different means and idiosyncrasies. Circumspection and fresh ease came together, infecting each other and vice versa.

Those of us who are dedicated to the history of protocol, ceremonial and etiquette have detected a growing simplification in certain traditional forms, less used in receptions where the Kings are present. Until a few years ago the King kissed the hand, not only of other sovereigns or princesses, as he continues to do now, but of many other ladies of a certain status. In the same way, the ladies bowed before the kings Don Juan Carlos and Doña Sofía, the Prince and the Infantas. The gentlemen bowed their heads before the King and kissed the Queen's hand. These customs have been lost to the point of almost disappearing. This evolution seems a sign of the timesalthough some romantics resist seeing the need for such “aggiornamento”, not seeing any incompatibility between modernity and tradition.

Queen Letizia at Military Easter 2020.
Queen Letizia at Military Easter 2020.Gtres

She began very early to be a fashion icon, ambassador of Spanish designers inside and outside our borders. The image is fundamental and the Queen has an undoubted style that favors the image of Spain. One is what one conveys and the appropriate attire, while a perpetual smile – whether it's hot or cold, tired or not, whether we like our interlocutors more or less – are a “must” for members of the Royal Family, not only the King and the Queen but also the Princess of Asturias and the Infanta Doña Sofía. We always want to remember them this way, although we must not forget that other times it is necessary to cry alongside those who cry, as we saw with Don Juan Carlos and Doña Sofía in moments of great affliction.

As the aforementioned Gardelian tango sang, “the snows of time silvered my temple” – Don Felipe's temple – and gave it poise. Doña Letizia, safer in an environment that was not hers twenty years ago, knows that example leads and that the best example is the joy of celebrating twenty years of perseverance, sacrifice, dedication and love.