Queen Letizia of Spain's grandfather passes away aged 98

hellomagazine.com

Queen Letizia of Spain is mourning the death of her grandfather Francisco Rocasolano, who has passed away at the age of 98. The queen's granddad was admitted to hospital in Salamanca, about an hour's drive away from Madrid, on Saturday night after reportedly suffering from heart problems.

Following the death of her grandfather, Letizia pulled out of an official engagement that was scheduled for Tuesday morning.

She was due to attend the National Fashion Awards at the Museo del Traje in Madrid but on Monday night the royal palace released a statement confirming her absence. Letizia was set to attend with José Manuel Soria, the minister of tourism, industry and energy.

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Queen Letizia enjoyed a close relationship with her late grandfather Francisco Rocasolano

The 42-year-old queen was extremely close to her grandfather Francisco, who was her mum Paloma's dad. Francisco supported his granddaughter – someone he called "sweet, smart and very normal" – on several important occasions.

He attended Letizia's wedding in 2004 when she married the then Prince Felipe VI and became the Princess of Asturias and Spain's future queen. He also attended the baptisms of the royal couple's two daughters, Princesses Leonor and Sofia.

The last time he attended a high-profile royal engagement was just over a year ago in June 2014, when Felipe was proclaimed king after the royal's father King Juan Carlos abdicated.

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Francisco (far left) attended many royal engagements including the baptism of Letizia's children

Francisco worked as a taxi driver for several years in Madrid, where he lived with his wife Enriqueta Rodríguez. At one point during her student years, Letizia lived with her grandparents in the Spanish capital when she attended the Instituto Ramiro de Maeztu.

When her grandparents retired they moved to sunny Alicante in the south of Spain for 15 years, and it was there that Letizia spent many summers.

But when Francisco's health started to fail, the former taxi driver and his wife moved in with his daughter Paloma, who took care of the elderly couple. Enriqueta sadly died in 2008 and at the time, Letizia again took time off her royal engagements.

Her mum Paloma was with 98-year-old Francisco when he passed away in the intensive care unit of the Salamanca hospital.

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