MADRID – Princess Leonor, the eldest daughter of King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia, took her oath as a cadet at the Royal Military Academy of Zaragoza on Saturday. The ceremony was attended by her parents and more than 400 other cadets.
King Felipe and Queen Letizia arrived at the academy around noon. They were greeted by acting Secretary of Defense Margarita Robles and other dignitaries before entering the courtyard. There they saw their daughter, standing tight, waiting for the big moment.
After the playing of the Spanish national anthem and a 21-gun salute to the king, Felipe began inspecting the cadets. Princess Leonor watched secretly as her father approached. She was the first in her class to take the oath, an emotional moment watched from the stage by her parents.
Kiss for the national flag
In a historic moment, the Princess of Asturias kissed the national flag, a tradition dating back to a flag commissioned by Queen Maria Christina of Austria in the 19th century. The audience applauded as Leonor marched alone in front of the stands before the rest of the cadets followed.
Following her were the other cadets who also took their oath and kissed the national flag. Finally, they all marched past the king and queen again, both of whom were visibly emotional.
In a subsequent speech, King Felipe addressed all the cadets and recalled his swearing-in ceremony in 1985. “It is a particularly emotional and important moment to see today the oath of our daughter, the Princess of Asturias,” the King said.
Big responsibility for the princess
He also addressed his daughter personally: “Dear Leonor, remember that the responsibility you have taken on is great. The Crown symbolises the unity and continuity of Spain. Your duty is to serve with all your energy and true passion.”
“La muerte no es el final”
The ceremony ended with a tribute to the fallen, with all the cadets singing the song “La muerte no es el final” (Death is not the end), which made for one of the most emotional moments of the day.