Inside King Felipe And Queen Letizia's Relationship With The British Royal Family

If you've followed the British royal family and have noticed frequent appearances from the Spanish royal family, you're not alone! For one, Princess Catherine of Wales and Prince William of Wales have notably been linked with King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain. Since the beginning of their friendship, Felipe and Letizia have also reportedly adopted Spanish nicknames for their British friends, with Kate known as Catalina, and William known as Guillermo, according to Hello magazine. Since they've been in the spotlight together, some media outlets have also drawn numerous comparisons between the two couples.

While it seems like the ties between the two royal families are stronger in modern times than ever before, these are not the only connections between the British and Spanish royals. In fact, a few of the members even share the same bloodlines! It's likely that the friendship between Kate and William with Felipe and Letizia will endure, even as big changes have occurred in the British royal family following the death of Queen Elizabeth II in 2022.

King Felipe was one of Queen Elizabeth II's distant cousins

King Felipe VI of Spain and the late Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain were friends in real life, but they also shared the same royal family tree. In fact, the two were distant cousins due to their blood ties with Queen Victoria, who was born in 1819. According to Royal Museums Greenwich, Queen Victoria had nine children. King Felipe's father, Juan Carlos, was the son of Queen Victoria's youngest daughter, Princess Beatrice. Another connection King Felipe has to Queen Victoria is through his mother, Queen Sofia, who was her great-great-granddaughter through Queen Victoria's oldest daughter, Princess Royal Victoria. 

As for the late Queen Elizabeth II, her ties to Queen Victoria were through Queen Victoria's eldest son, Edward VII. Like King Felipe's mother, Queen Elizabeth II was a great-great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria. If you're confused about the royal family tree, just remember that King Felipe VI of Spain and Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain were distant cousins due to their bloodline that traced back to Queen Victoria of Britain.

King Felipe was also related to the late Prince Philip

As if the royal family trees weren't confusing enough, it turns out that King Felipe VI is related to the British royal family through both of his parents. Not only is King Felipe related to the British royals through his father as a subsequent distant cousin to Queen Elizabeth II, but also through his mother, Queen Sofia. In fact, Queen Sofia of Spain was a first cousin to the late Prince Philip. 

Philip Mountbatten famously renounced his royal titles in both Denmark and Greece in order to marry then-Princess Elizabeth in November 1947. It turns out that Prince Philip was also a first cousin of King Felipe's mother. Queen Sofia was formerly known as the Princess of Denmark and Greece, and her father was King Paul of Greece. King Paul was the son of Constantine I of Greece. The link to the late Prince Philip? Constantine I was his uncle, who was the older brother to Prince Andrew, Philip's father.

The British and Spanish royal families reconnected in 2017 after three decades

While King Felipe VI of Spain is related to the British royal family tree through both of his parents, the British and Spanish royal families weren't considered close. This seemed to change in July 2017 when King Felipe VI and his wife, Queen Letizia, visited the British royal family on an official state visit. Not only was this the couple's first state visit to the United Kingdom, but it was also the first official visit of the Spanish royals to the United Kingdom in over 30 years, according to the U.K. government. In fact, Felipe's parents, King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofia, last visited the country in 1986.

The state visit marked an important step for the two countries, who are considered close military and business allies. In fact, Queen Elizabeth II said in a speech, "This State Visit is an expression of the deep respect and friendship that describes relations between Spain and the United Kingdom," as reported by the Royal Household. It also seemed to pave the way for a friendship between King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia with Prince William and Princess Kate.

Queen Letizia and Princess Kate were both previously criticized for being commoners

One thing you may not have realized about the wives of King Felipe VI and Prince William is that they were considered "commoners" due to their lack of aristocratic ties. Princess Kate's parents are successful entrepreneurs whose business ventures paid for her and her siblings to attend prestigious schools. Princess Kate met Prince William at the University of St. Andrews where they were both studying art history. 

Queen Letizia, on the other hand, met King Felipe VI in 2002 when Letizia was working as a broadcast journalist. She was raised in a working-class family to a nurse and a journalist, and she attended public schools. While the relationship between Felipe and Letizia was initially criticized, Felipe fought back after their engagement was announced in 2003. According to The Mail+, Felipe said, "I am very happy to be able to show how happy our engagement has made me and how in love I am with Letizia."

While it hasn't been confirmed whether the two share a bond over their lack of royal connections, one can't help but wonder whether Kate and Letizia related to each other over their status as "commoners."

King Felipe and Queen Letizia were invited to Garter Day in 2019

After their state visit to the United Kingdom in 2017, King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia were invited back by Queen Elizabeth II for the annual Garter Day celebration in 2019. Also known as "The Order of the Garter," Garter Day is an important annual tradition for the British royals that recognizes chivalry. In fact, the tradition dates back to King Edward III in the medieval era. On each Garter Day, the Crown chooses Knights based on public service acts, and all are gathered in robes for a formal procession. 

The 2019 invitation for King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia was considered significant due to how special the event is to the British royals. Furthermore, Felipe was also selected as one of the "Stranger" Knights of the Garter that year, along with another foreign member, King Willem-Alexander from The Netherlands, according to the Royal Household. Additionally, they shared a carriage ride with Prince William and Princess Kate during the procession, where they reportedly appeared to be having a good time together. 

King Felipe and Queen Letizia paid tribute to the late Queen Elizabeth II

When Queen Elizabeth II died, King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia were among the selected guests to attend the queen's funeral at Westminster Abbey. According to the Associated Press, there were 2,000 guests total, and that included other royals and world leaders, such as President Joe Biden. Also in attendance were Felipe's parents, Juan Carlos and Sofia, the former King and Queen of Spain. 

Shortly after her death, Felipe also penned a letter to the then-Prince Charles. Among his condolences, he wrote, per the Daily Mail, "Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth has undoubtedly witnessed, written, and shaped many of the most relevant chapters in the history of our world during the last seven decades ... We will miss her dearly." Felipe also reportedly referred to Elizabeth II as "Aunt Lilibet" due to their shared blood ties. Similarly, Felipe also previously referred to Prince Philip as his uncle, and had attended his funeral in April 2021.

King Felipe and Queen Letizia attended the coronation of King Charles in 2023

Several months after his mother, Queen Elizabeth II died, Charles was officially crowned as King in May 2023. King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain had recently attended other recent key British royal events, and the coronation of King Charles III was no exception. Rather than wearing a tiara to the event, which Town and Country magazine said was a controversial possibility for royals who attended the fete, Letizia instead wore a stylish wide-brimmed hat.

Additionally, while Felipe and Letizia may have indeed reconnected with their friends Prince William and Princess Kate, none of this was caught on camera. The presumption is that their British royal counterparts were likely involved with coronation responsibilities for William's father, Charles, and his stepmother, Queen Camilla. King Charles' coronation occurred at Westminster Abbey, where about 2,000 people attended the ceremony inside and thousands of bystanders waited outside on the streets of London, according to PBS.

Both Queen Letizia and Princess Kate are lauded for their similar fashion choices

While the Spanish and British royals appear to be friends with one another since their meeting in 2017, the media has often portrayed Queen Letizia and Princess Kate as fashion rivals. This is due to their seemingly similar fashion choices, which may (or may not) be coincidental. Such comparisons go as far back to 2014, when they were noted to have similar hat styles. Since then, Kate and Letizia have also trended toward a preference for classic, tailored aesthetics. 

Another more recent example of Kate and Letizia sharing a similar sense of fashion happened in the spring and summer of 2023, when they were both spotted wearing red suits on separate occasions. According to the Daily Mail, Kate wore her red suit at the King's Coronation Concert, which took place in May. Letizia, on the other hand, wore a different red suit to the Women's World Cup tournament in August. Whether Letizia was trying to copy Kate's look is anyone's guess, but the one thing we know for sure is that both women looked absolutely chic.

Both of their families are portrayed as photogenic rivals

Aside from similar fashion choices between Princess Kate and Queen Letizia, the media also sometimes portrays their families as rivals with one another. Since the two royal families seem to get along well, it's a wonder where this perception may come from. One possible explanation lies in the loveable family photos each side submits to the public. In 2017, Hollywood Correspondent Julie Miller commented on the speculated rivalry in Vanity Fair, where both families seemed to be vying for "the art of the Adorable Royal-Family Photo Op (A.R.F.P.O.)," which is something she described as "a carefully staged public gathering, for which the royals are styled to look every bit the tasteful, church-attending celebrity family — the photographs of which subconsciously reinforce the royals as important international figureheads."

Princess Kate and Prince William have put out such family photos since their eldest son, Prince George, was born in 2013. Since then, Kate and William have had two other children. Princess Charlotte was born shortly after her brother George in 2015. The youngest, Prince Louis, was born in 2018. 

King Felipe and Queen Letizia have two daughters. Princess Leonor is their eldest daughter, who was born in 2005. Their youngest daughter, Princess Sofia, was born in 2007. Since the couple don't have a son, Princess Leonor is currently the presumed heir to the Spanish Crown, according to People.

Prince William and Princess Kate invited King Felipe to Wimbledon in 2023

Since first seeming to hit it off in 2017, Prince William and Princess Kate connect with their Spanish royal friends whenever an opportunity arises. One recent event was the prestigious tennis tournament at Wimbledon in 2023. Here, according to People, Prince William and Princess Kate invited King Felipe to watch the men's singles finals with them at the exclusive Royal Box at Centre Court. The match King Felipe got to see was between Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz. Alcaraz, who is also from Spain like King Felipe, ended up winning. "It's special to play in front of royalty," Alcaraz said in an interview after defeating Djokovic. "King Felipe, I am really proud that you are here supporting me."

Perhaps more importantly, King Felipe was able to reacquaint himself with his British royal friends and distant cousins. This summer 2023 event was also Princess Charlotte's official Wimbledon debut. She was there alongside her parents, Prince William and Princess Kate, as well as her older brother, Prince George. The children also reportedly carried on a conversation of their own with King Felipe and seemed to cheer for Alcaraz with him, per People.