Spain's King Felipe touches his daughter Princess Leonor on the cheek after presenting her with the Order of the Golden Fleece. (AP)

Spain's King Felipe touches his daughter Princess Leonor on the cheek after presenting her with the Order of the Golden Fleece. (AP)

Leonor gets a kiss during the ceremony in Madrid, Spain. (AP)

Leonor gets a kiss during the ceremony in Madrid, Spain. (AP)

Princess Leonor as a newborn princess (AP)

Princess Leonor as a newborn princess (AP)

Princess Leonor (right) and her sister Princess Sofia with their mother in 2010 (AP)

Princess Leonor (right) and her sister Princess Sofia with their mother in 2010 (AP)

Spain's Princess Leonor waves from her father’s car in Madrid in 2016. (AP)

Spain's Princess Leonor waves from her father’s car in Madrid in 2016. (AP)

Becoming Queen

Posted: April 30, 2018

Princess Leonor steps forward in a room full of dignitaries. Her father, King Felipe of Spain, pins a red ribbon to her blue dress, then bends to kiss her on both cheeks. Leonor curtsies. She is only 12 years old. But she has a pretty good idea of what she’ll be when she grows up. The red ribbon is a symbol. It means Princess Leonor will one day rule her country.

What would you feel like in Princess Leonor’s shoes? Would you be nervous? Leonor’s dad gives her some encouragement. “I know it may seem like you have lots of challenges and responsibilities to face, all important and difficult,” he says. “But know that you have the support of many people who want the best for Spain, for the Crown, and for you.”

Leonor’s red ribbon shows that she has been accepted into the Order of the Golden Fleece. That’s one of the highest honors in Spain. This order of knighthood has existed since 1430. Back then, knights who joined the order promised to defend the Roman Catholic religion. They followed a set of rules for living. When members broke the rules, the knights settled problems among themselves by holding trials. More than 1,000 people have been invited to join the order. Only four of those people have been females.

Queendom isn’t all crowns, ceremonies, and pretty red ribbons. Princess Leonor will have a big job to do when she becomes queen. At least, she will as long as her parents don’t have a baby boy. Boys are first in line for the throne in Spain. But King Felipe has clearly shown what he has in mind for Leonor. She will be queen!