Letizia and her mother-in-law Sofia are two women with some very important things in common: They are Queens of Spain and the wife and mother (respectively) of the new King Philip VI.
Outside of those commonalities, their biographies are very, very different. Let’s have a look at their lives, tastes and personalities.
Plebeian vs. blue blood: Sofia is the daughter of King Paul I and Queen Federica of Greece, who were Crown Prince and Princess when she was born in 1938, and ruled as monarchs from 1947 to 1964.
She was baptized at the Royal Palace in Athens. Letizia’s origins are very different. She is the eldest daughter of journalist Jesus Ortiz and nurse and trade unionist Paloma Rocasolano (divorced for 15 years) and the granddaughter of a taxi driver.
Two strong personalities: Sofia is definitely an old fashioned royal, extremely discrete and highly professional.
Her thoughts have never become publicly known, except when, years ago, she granted a long interview to the journalist Pilar Urbano which led to a controversial biography in which the Queen voiced her disagreement with gay marriage.
Letizia does not give interviews, but her domineering and perfectionist nature is well-known, as she has often made less than diplomatic comments at public events.
Spanish Design: The mother and wife of Philip VI match in their predilection for Spanish designers.
Sofia is devoted to the classical jacket suits of Margarita Nuez and the haute couture of Alejandro de Miguel. She is also very conservative with her hairstyle, which has not changed for decades.
In opposition, Letizia has experimented with a variety of hairstyles since she was named Princess of Asturias. Her choice in designer for official acts is Felipe Varela, although in her daily life, she loves the casual style of low cost companies like Zara and Mango.
I sail, you go to the movies: Like the rest of the Borbon family, Sofia loves skiing and sailing. She also adores archeology and traveling with her sister Irene. She is vegetarian and, as a true lover of animals, she hates bullfighting.
Letizia prefers going to the movies to see films in their original version, and to have dinner with her husband in cheap restaurants. She also organizes Zumba classes at the palace, in the company of her closest girlfriends. She happens to hate both skiing and sailing.
Classical or indie music? While Sofia is a great lover and promoter of classical music (she was a close friend of Russian cellist Mstislav Rostropovich) who loves watching concerts at the exclusive Royal Theatre of Madrid, Letizia is a fan of indie music and often sneaks away from palace to enjoy alternative music festivals.
She has also been spotted dancing at Shakira and Bon Jovi´s shows.
Who is more popular? Queen Sofia never really connected with the Spaniards and visa-versa. However, over the years, she became highly appreciated for her professionalism and because people could see how hard it must have been to be a foreign woman reining in another country, plus being married to a man that has repeatedly cheated on her.
She’s still beloved despite her unconditional support of her daughter Cristina, charged with husband Inaki Urdangarin in the Noos Case. Letizia, despite being a plebeian, has one of the worst public opinion ratings of the Royal Family. She conveys a sense of arrogance and frivolity that most Spaniards don’t like.
The pediatric nurse and the journalist: Sofia’s family lived in exile in Egypt and South Africa for years. After that, she studied at the exclusive German Schloss Salem boarding school and graduated after studying nursing, childcare, music and archeology. She speaks Greek, German, Spanish, French and English.
Letizia only knows about public education. First, she studied at the Gesta School in her hometown Oviedo. Then came the institute Ramiro Maeztu and the Complutense University of Madrid, where she got a degree in Journalism. She speaks Spanish and English.
Working girls: Before marrying Juan Carlos, Sofia worked for two years as a nurse on a maternity unit in Athens.
Letizia has had a longer working experience at 13 years, similar to that of many young Spanish young women. She began her career writing for several newspapers, then switched to TV and worked at CNN + and the Spanish public television, where she co-hosted the primetime newscast.