Felipe - Biography

Tall, dark and handsome, King Felipe of Spain has exactly what it takes to be a royal heart-throb. Like his father King Juan Carlos, he's a natural charmer, and from his mother Queen Sofia, he's inherited reserve and a gentle demeanour.

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Princess Letizia

January 01, 2001


King Juan Carlos of Spain

January 05, 1938


Madrid, Spain

Horoscope : Aquarius

"Some people think I'm too serious, but I believe I've got a sense of humour," he told HELLO!. "I like to think of myself as being no different from anybody else, with my failures, qualities, frustrations, joys, worries, everything... A King should not lose his perception of what it is like to be somebody normal."

Born on January 30, 1968, in Madrid, Spain, Felipe known also as Felipe de Borbon y Grecia as well as the Prince of Asturias was a popular figure as a schoolboy, dodging palace bodyguards assigned to him by enlisting the help of his chums.

When the future King graduated as a pilot in the Air Force academy he had the crown of his head shorn in the shape of a "T", as all Spanish Air Force cadets traditionally do when awarded their wings.

Apart from stints in all three branches of the armed forces, the 6ft 4in royal has studied abroad - in the US, Canada and Brussels - and has both a masters degree in international relations and a law degree. He speaks French and fluent English, and loves astronomy, skiiing and sailing. He even competed in the 1992 Olympics as a member of the Spanish sailing team, in the same way his father did two decades before.

Though he'd lived with his parents his whole life, in 2002 he gained an estate of his own, the 11-bedroom, nine-bathroom New Pavilion of the Zarzuela Palace in Madrid. The 3,150-square- metre building also includes offices, meeting halls, 20 garage spaces and a swimming pool.

His role as heir to the Spanish throne, meant Felipe's love life was inevitably the focus of much media speculation. He enjoyed a high-profile five-year courtship with Norwegian model Eva Sannum, which had inspired a debate in Spain as to whether the Prince should be able to marry a commoner. That relationship came to an end, however, when the prince announced it had failed to "thrive".

Other girlfriends included US co-ed Giselle Howard, German royal Carolina de Waldburg, and aristocrat Isabel Sartorius, with whom he ended a similarly controversial romance in 1992.

Felipe had always insisted that whoever he chose, it would be "a relationship based on love, respect and kindness", and when the royal palace made the surprise announcement of his engagement to 31-year-old newsreader Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano - a commoner, divorcée and popular public figure - it seemed the Prince had kept his word.

The pair tied the knot in the summer of 2004 in Madrid's Almudena Cathedral. Their first child, daugther Leonor, was born on October 31, 2005, and the couple welcomed their second daughter, Sofia, on April 29, 2007.

On 19 June with Letizia by his side, he was crowned Felipe VI, replacing his father who abdicated aged 76.

The love and respect Felipe looked for in his life partner is also reflected in the attitude he holds towards his parents. "In the king (Juan Carlos) I have a father, but also a leader, a friend and a counsellor," he says. "My mother has provided the humane, intellectual and spiritual part of my upbringing... I've often been described as being a combination of both my parents, physically and in character. I don't know if that's true and I don't even know whether I'd be capable of extracting the best part of each of them. Perhaps that would be the best thing."

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