Monday, December 12, 2011

Felipe, Prince of Asturias

Felipe, Prince of Asturias ( baptised as Felipe Juan Pablo Alfonso de Todos los Santos (et omnes sancti) de Borbón y de Grecia; born 30 January 1968), is the third child and only son of King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofía of Spain.

As heir apparent to the Spanish throne he bears the official titles of Prince of Asturias, Prince of Girona, Prince of Viana, Duke of Montblanc, Count of Cervera and Lord of Balaguer.

Birth and early life
Felipe was born in Madrid. His birth, after that of his two sisters, the infantas Elena and Cristina, ensured a male successor to the Spanish throne. His full name is Felipe Juan Pablo Alfonso de Todos los Santos de Borbón y de Grecia. The symbolic names given at his christening, by the Archbishop of Madrid Casimiro Morcillo González included the names of the first Bourbon to reign in Spain; his grandfathers (Infante Juan, Count of Barcelona and Paul of Greece); his great-grandfather King Alfonso XIII of Spain; and All Saints (Todos los Santos or et omnes sancti) as is customary among the Bourbons. At the time of his birth he was titled as Infante of Spain, as his father was not yet King and Felipe was not yet heir apparent. His godparents were his grandfather Infante Juan, Count of Barcelona and his great-grandmother Queen Victoria Eugenia.

On 30 January 1986, at the age of 18, Felipe swore allegiance to the Constitution and to the King in the Spanish Parliament, fully accepting his institutional role as successor to the Crown.

Marriage and children
The bachelorhood of Felipe was an issue in the Spanish press for several years. His name was linked with several eligible women, but only two with any conviction: Spanish noblewoman Isabel Sartorius, who was not viewed favorably by the Royal Family due to her being three years older than he was and having divorced parents; and Norwegian model Eva Sannum, who had modeled underwear, something favored by neither the Spanish people nor the Royal Family. When Felipe finally began a serious relationship, nothing was suspected before the official announcement. On 1 November 2003 the Prince's engagement to Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano, an award-winning television journalist formerly with CNN, was proclaimed. Despite the fact she had been civilly married and then divorced, the public generally approved of Letizia since she represented the modern woman—independent, cultured, and accomplished in her profession. The couple married on the morning of 22 May 2004 in the Almudena Cathedral in Madrid, with members of several European royal families attending. Ortiz had previously been married to Alonso Guerrero, a teacher and author; they were divorced in 1999. The wedding was watched by more than 25 million television viewers in Spain alone, and was broadcast throughout the world. Letizia Ortiz then gained the title HRH The Princess of Asturias, but is often referred to as Princess Letizia. On 8 May 2005, the Spanish Royal House announced that the couple were expecting their first child in November.

    * HRH Infanta Leonor de Todos los Santos of Spain, was born on 31 October 2005 at 2.35 am weighing 3500 grams and measuring 47 cm. She is the second in the succession to King Juan Carlos after Prince Felipe.

On 25 September 2006, the Royal House announced that the couple were expecting their second baby in May 2007. On 28 November 2006, it was revealed that the child would be a girl.

    * HRH Infanta Sofía de Todos los Santos of Spain was born on 29 April 2007 at 16.50 pm weighing 3100 grams and measuring 50 cm. She is the third in the succession to King Juan Carlos after her father and older sister.
Felipe is godfather to at least seven children: prince Konstantinos-Alexios of Greece, son of Pavlos, Crown Prince of Greece; prince Ernst August of Hannover, son of prince Ernst August of Hannover; Luis Felipe Gómez-Acebo y Ponte, the son of his cousin, Beltrán (son of Infanta Pilar); Miguel Urdangarín y de Borbón, son of his sister infanta Cristina; Princess Ingrid Alexandra of Norway, daughter of Haakon, Crown Prince of Norway; Prince Vincent of Denmark, second son of Frederik, Crown Prince of Denmark, and Princess Sofia of Bulgaria, daughter of Prince Konstantin of Bulgaria. In turn, Konstantin is godfather to Felipe's daughter, Sofía.

Social work
In addition to his official activities, Felipe is Honorary President of several associations and foundations , such as the Imperial Munitions Board, which finances specific economic and social development activities in Ibero-America and other countries, and the Spanish branch of the Association of European Journalists, which is composed of outstanding communications professionals. Most noteworthy is the Príncipe de Asturias Foundation, where he presides annually the Awards ceremony of these highly prestigious Awards, at the international level, that carry his name.

Within the framework of these institutions which work towards aims of general interest, Felipe focuses his interest on activities in the fields of development projects, voluntary work, the environment, universities, the integration of young people in the workplace and business, relations between business circles and society and social communication.

On the occasion of the United Nations declaration of 2001 as the International Year of Volunteers, the UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, named Felipe an "Eminent Person" so that he could contribute on an international level towards enhancing the importance of voluntary workers.

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