king felipe princess leonor order of golden fleece

King Felipe of Spain celebrates 50th birthday by giving daughter same honour as the Queen

Princess Leonor received the Order of the Golden Fleece from her father

Ainhoa Barcelona

King Felipe of Spain gave a truly heartwarming speech to his daughter Princess Leonor, as he presented her with the Order of the Golden Fleece on Tuesday. The king was celebrating his 50th birthday and to mark the milestone, Felipe bestowed his 12-year-old daughter with one of the country's highest honours.

Addressing his firstborn, Felipe said: "Today, Leonor, you are taking a very important and symbolic step towards your future role, which began on 19 June 2014, when, by constitutional rights, you were named the Princess of Asturias and given other titles that traditionally belong to the heir to the Spanish throne."

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Leonor gave her first public curtsy

He continued: "I know it may seem like you have lots of challenges and responsibilities to face, all important and difficult, but know that you have the support of many people who want the best for Spain, for the Crown and for you. Your family will always be at your side, especially your mother and Sofia, who will be with you, supporting you, as will your grandparents and of course, myself. Know that you have my complete trust and that I feel so immensely proud to have presented this Order of the Golden Fleece to you this morning."

Spanish royals share a glimpse of their home life

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The princess pictured with her new Order of the Golden Fleece

During the ceremony, Leonor sweetly smiled and curtseyed to her father – her first curtsy in public. The young schoolgirl again curtseyed to her mum Queen Letizia and her paternal grandparents, King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia. She then greeted her maternal grandparents, Paloma Rocasolano and Jesús Ortiz, with two kisses. Leonor's ten-year-old sister Princess Sofia was also present.

Leonor was officially given the order in 2015, but it wasn't ceremoniously presented to her until now. The order, which was created in 1430, has been bestowed to some 1,200 people but only four so far have been female recipients: Queen Isabella II of Spain, Beatrix of the Netherlands, Queen Margrethe II of Denmark and Her Majesty the Queen.

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The Queen also has the same prestigious order

Spanish royals pose for rare family photo for Juan Carlos' 80th

Her grandfather King Juan Carlos I – Felipe's dad – also gave out the honour during his reign to notable royals, including King Carl XVI Gustaf of Spain, King Harald V of Norway and Emperor Akihito of Japan.

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