Spain’s King Félipe VI and Queen Letizia are officially empty nesters. On Tuesday, the Casa Real social media accounts posted photographs of the king and queen helping their younger daughter, Princess Sofia, load her bags into the trunk of a car before heading off to start school at United World College of the Atlantic in Wales. In one of the images, the 16-year-old is shown embracing the family dog.
Later in the day, the accounts posted another set of photos showing Sofia, wearing the same crop top and plaid overshirt, posing on a stone wall in front of UWC’s iconic stone buildings. In February, the Casa Real announced that Sofia would attend the school, and that her parents would pay the annual tuition of 74 thousand British pounds from their personal funds.
Incoming students, who study for credit toward an International Baccalaureate degree, arrived to begin courses at the school on August 29. By attending UWC, Sofia is following in the footsteps of her older sister, Princess Leonor, and becoming the latest in a long line of royals to show their support for the sixth-form college occasionally called “hippie Hogwarts” in the press. The school was founded in 1962 by Kurt Hahn, an educator with close ties to Prince Philip, with the aim of promoting peace and cooperation during the Cold War. Philip’s uncle Lord Louis Mountbatten served as the first president of the network of schools that sprung up in Atlantic’s image, and in 1975, he passed the job to his nephew, now King Charles III.
Leonor, Félipe and Letizia’s older daughter, graduated from Atlantic in May. As the next in line for the throne, Leonor is set to be the first queen regnant in Spain since Queen Isabella II sat on the throne from 1833 to 1868. Two weeks ago, she traveled to the General Military Academy in Zaragoza to begin a three-year training program that will run concurrently to her university studies.
According to Hola España, Leonor said that she was feeling a bit nervous before beginning her course. Her father agreed. “You have to be a little nervous,” Félipe said, and recalled his own entrance to the academy in 1985. “It was 38 years ago, but hey, we all have good memories of that day. Logically, seeing Leonor achieve this is exciting, and we give her all our encouragement.”
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