Princess Sofia bid farewell to her parents and the family dog before jetting off to "Hippie Hogwarts"
Princess Sofia of Spain is heading to a new adventure!
On Tuesday, Queen Letizia and King Felipe of Spain sent their younger daughter off to UWC Atlantic college in Wales. Sofia, 16, enrolled as new pupil in the International Baccalaureate program and will study there for two years, Hola! reported. The send off officially made Letizia, 50, and Felipe, 55, empty nesters, as their elder daughter Princess Leonor currently is currently training at General Military Academy of Zaragoza for three years of study with the Spanish armed forces.
In photos the Spanish royal family shared to X (formerly Twitter), Princess Sofia shared one last chat with her parents at home and pet the family dog Jan. The relatable back-to-school scene was made complete with her suitcases stacked in the car.
A few hours later, Casa Real shared shots of Sofia exploring the school's scenic grounds (backpack slung over shoulder!) and posing outside St. Donat's Castle, which dates back to the 12th century. Sofia follows in Leonor's footsteps by attending UWC, which is nicknamed “Hippie Hogwarts” and has taught other royals including Princess Elisabeth of Belgium, King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands and Princess Raiyah bint Al Hussein of Jordan.
Sofia was at UWC with her family not long ago for a sweet reason — Leonor’s graduation! The future queen of Spain graduated from the elite boarding school in May, where Princess Alexia of the Netherlands (King Willem-Alexander’s daughter) was one of her classmates.
— Casa de S.M. el Rey (@CasaReal) August 29, 2023
A few weeks and family vacation in Mallorca later, Leonor started her studies at the General Military Academy in Aragon. Her parents and sister dropped her off at school on Aug. 17, and courtiers released shots of the princess shaking hands with an official, hugging her mom and wheeling her suitcase towards check-in.
The Royal Household of Spain announced in March that Princess Leonor would begin three years of military training after graduating from UWC Atlantic, with plans to train at the General Military Academy of Zaragoza as a Lady Cadet for the 2023-2024 academic year.
The following year, Princess Leonor will move to the Navy, working as a Midshipman at the Marín Naval Military School and on board the Juan Sebastián de Elcano Training Ship. After that, the royal heir will complete her courses with the Air and Space Army, attending the San Javier General Air Academy as Ensign Student from 2025 to 2026.
The intense program is par for the course for the heir to the Bourbon throne, as King Felipe also studied at multiple military academies and earned Helicopter Pilot Wings from the Army and the Navy.
After she got settled, Casa Real gave a glimpse of the princess in camouflage with her classmates. Her uniform featured the Spanish flag and a name tag that read "Borbón Ortiz." The double surname combines of her royal line, the House of Bourbon, and her mother’s name before marrying into the royal family.
Prince William and Prince Harry similarly got creative when it came to their last name while serving in the armed forces. Instead of their royal titles, they went by "William Wales" and "Harry Wales," using their father King Charles' title at the time — the Prince of Wales — as their surname.
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Princess Leonor will be Spain’s first queen regnant since Queen Isabella II (who reigned from 1833 to 1868) when she accedes to the throne, and with it, the responsibility of serving as supreme commander of the Spanish armed forces.
Speaking about the significance of Princess Leonor’s military training when the plans were announced, Spanish Defense Minister Margarita Robles said, “It’s an essential step in the life of Her Royal Highness … toward the leadership of our country,” CNN reported.
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