Spain gripped by news that Princess Letizia is pregnant

9th May 2005, Comments 0 comments

9 May 2005, MADRID — Spain was enthralled by the news that Princess Letizia, the wife of Spain's Crown Prince Felipe, is three months pregnant.

9 May 2005

MADRID — Spain was enthralled by the news that Princess Letizia, the wife of Spain's Crown Prince Felipe, is three months pregnant.

The couple's first child will be the second in line to the Spanish crown after Prince Felipe.

The prince expressed his and Princess Letizia's joy at the expected birth of their
first child next November.

"The princess and I cannot hide the happiness we feel regarding the impending birth of our first child. Our desire to start a family is thus fulfilled," Felipe said during an official visit to Spain's Balearic Islands.

The birth will "reinforce stability and institutional continuity," Felipe said.

"We wish to associate you with our joy and satisfaction as this reinforces stability and institutional continuity [to allow] the crown's best service to Spain," said Felipe, 37, who was accompanied by Letizia, a former television news presenter.

A statement from the Spanish royal household on Sunday said Letizia and Felipe "have the great pleasure of announcing the birth of their first child, expected in November".

King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia "wish to share the joy of announcing this happy news," it added.

Almost all the Spanish newspapers carried the news as their lead stories on Monday and the radio and television were also dominated by the news.

The 32-year-old Princess of Asturias, a former television news presenter from the northern region of Asturias, married the heir to the Spanish throne last May.

If the child is a boy then under current Spanish legislation, which the Socialist government is seeking to change, he would eventually become king in Felipe's stead, whereas a baby girl would not be able to ascend the throne until the rules are amended.

"I am very happy, we all are," Juan Carlos told the Telecinco television channel as he arrived to watch the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona.

The monarch, who did not indicate if the parents to be were aware of the sex of the child, added that his seventh grandchild "will be treated just the same as the others".

Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero announced in his investiture speech last year that he intended to modify legislation to allow a female heir to the throne as part of his government's campaign to end discrimination against women.

However, given the constitutional amendments that that would require, the move is unlikely to materialise before the next general election scheduled for 2008.

A modification would also be unlikely to be applied retrospectively and so a baby princess for Letizia and Felipe would not benefit.

Two-thirds of the upper and lower chambers of the Cortes, or parliament, would have to approve the move prior to a dissolution of both houses and even then the amendment would require popular approval via a referendum.

The Spanish monarchy was restored in 1975 following the death of military dictator General Francisco Franco, who ruled for 36 years following the Spanish Civil War.

Speculation had mounted regarding a possible royal announcement after 37-year-old Felipe and Letizia cancelled a planned Formula One weekend trip and instead began preparing for an official trip to the Balearic Islands on Monday.

The couple are set to have their first child just a month after the first offspring of Danish heir Prince Frederik and his Australian wife Mary is due to arrive.

This year is set to be a bumper year for births in European royal households. Aside from Letizia and Denmark's Crown Princess Mary, Norway's Princess Mette-Marit is expecting a second child, as is Princess Maxima Zorreguieta of the Netherlands, while Belgium's Princess Mathilde is in her third pregnancy.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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