Spain’s Crown Princess Leonor is set to embark on a three-year military training program in preparation for her role as the country’s future head of state. The announcement was made by Spanish Defense Minister Margarita Robles during a press conference on Tuesday.
As the eldest daughter of King Felipe VI, Princess Leonor is next in line for the Spanish throne. When her father eventually steps down or passes away, she will become the supreme commander of the country’s armed forces.
The military training program will provide her with the skills and knowledge necessary to lead the Spanish Armed Forces and ensure the security and defense of the nation.
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The three-year program will see Princess Leonor spending one year each with Spain’s army, navy, and air force at their respective academies. This will be followed by a university degree if she chooses to pursue one.
Robles described the enrolment of Princess Leonor in the military training program as an “essential step” towards her leadership of the country. She added that the move demonstrated the country’s commitment to incorporating women into the armed forces.
“It’s an essential step in the life of Her Royal Highness … toward the leadership of our country. It also shows that we will have a supreme commander who is a woman.”
The training program is modelled after that completed by King Felipe VI, who also spent a year with each branch of the armed forces. The experience gave him an understanding of the military and its values, which he has since incorporated into his leadership style.
The announcement of Princess Leonor’s enrolment in the military training program comes at a challenging time for the Spanish monarchy. Her father, King Felipe VI, has been attempting to modernize and reform the monarchy, in response to criticism and scandals surrounding his father, former King Juan Carlos.
Juan Carlos abdicated in 2014 amid a financial scandal and criticism of his behavior, including an elephant-hunting trip to Botswana during Spain’s financial crisis in 2012. The scandals have damaged the reputation of the monarchy, and King Felipe VI has been working to distance himself from his father’s controversial actions.
Princess Leonor’s enrolment in the military training program is one way in which the monarchy is seeking to modernize and prepare the next generation of leaders for their roles. By emphasizing the importance of public service, education, and leadership development, the monarchy is seeking to restore public confidence in the institution and ensure its continued relevance in the years to come.