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King Felipe and Queen Letizia bid farewell to Princess Leonor at airport

The young royal, 15, is starting college in the UK

queen letizia hugs princess leonor
Danielle Stacey
Danielle StaceyOnline Royal CorrespondentLondon
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There were emotional scenes at the airport on Monday as King Felipe and Queen Letizia of Spain waved off their eldest daughter, Princess Leonor, as she left to start college in the UK.

The 15-year-old, dressed in a striped T-shirt and navy trousers, bid farewell to her parents and her younger sister, Infanta Sofia, 14, as she prepared to board her flight from Adolfo Suarez Barajas Airport in Madrid.

Leonor will study for her International Baccalaureate at the UWC Atlantic College in Llantwit Major, Wales, for the next two years.

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Queen Letizia, wearing a grey ensemble, was pictured embracing her daughter in a hug before Leonor passed through the departure gate.

The princess, who is the heir to the Spanish throne, also hugged her father goodbye and they appeared to smile at one another under their face coverings.

king felipe hugs leonor© Photo: Rex

Princess Leonor hugs her father King Felipe

Leonor carried her three pieces of luggage, including a tan satchel, a large backpack and a carry-on suitcase as her family waved her off.

She will be joined at the college by King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of The Netherlands' second child, Princess Alexia, 16.

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princess leonor boards plane© Photo: Rex

The Spanish royal family waved off Leonor at the gate

The Dutch royal family shared a photo of Alexia as she prepared to leave for the UK, also on Monday.

The image, taken by the king, showed the young royal wearing a red and black checked jacket with ripped pale blue jeans and white trainers as she held two large bags and a face covering outside the royal family's home, Huis ten Bosch Palace, in The Hague.

princess alexia leaves for college© King Willem-Alexander

King Willem-Alexander shared a photo of daughter Princess Alexia

UWC Atlantic College is set in the 12th century St Donat's Castle on the southern Welsh coast and campus facilities include a library, woodland, an indoor and outdoor swimming pool, and classrooms within historic buildings.

It was founded in 1962 by German educationalist Kurt Hahn, who also set up Gordonstoun boarding school in Scotland, famously attended by Prince Charles.

Notable alumni include King Willem-Alexander and Princess Raiyah bint Al-Hussein of Jordan. Princess Elisabeth of Belgium, 19, also graduated from the college in May 2020.

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