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Queen Letizia broke with Spanish Royal Family tradition during a flag ceremony for the Civil Guard in the Basque Country last week.

© Casa de S.M. el Rey

© Casa de S.M. el Rey

Her Majesty decided against wearing a more formal, black dress and mantilla on her hair as queens have done for such ceremonies, and as Queen Sofia did in the picture below.

© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos

© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos

Queen Letizia, instead, wore the same dress she wore for her proclamation.

© Casa de S.M. el Rey

© Casa de S.M. el Rey

Even though ardent monarchists have not been fond of the breaks in tradition, many Spaniards and media outlets welcome the changes.

© Casa de S.M. el Rey

© Casa de S.M. el Rey

Recently she and King Felipe dressed down to attend a Madrid scientific monologue contest, above, and the King celebrated Spanish victory in a basketball tournament, below.

© Casa de S.M. el Rey

© Casa de S.M. el Rey

King Juan Carlos wanted to marry his mistress, German Princess Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein. But she soon became a liability that helped end his 39-year reign.

Ana Romero, former royal correspondent for El Mundo newspaper, is out with a new book about the years-long controversy that has engulfed the Spanish Royal Family and threatened the Crown.

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Romero described how journalists in Spain have for years protected the Royal Family, especially during the years of economic growth and high popularity.

But the corruption allegations engulfing King Juan Carlos’ daughter and son-in-law, increased public scrutiny of leaders, and the public’s knowledge of Princess Corinna tarnished their reputation.

King Juan Carlos at Spanish Armada headquarters. © Casa de S.M. el Rey

King Juan Carlos at Spanish Armada headquarters. © Casa de S.M. el Rey

The book reveals that years ago King Juan Carlos had Princess Corinna live in a chalet on royal grounds near his Zarzuela Palace in secret. He was also mixing business with pleasure, using Corinna to help with international contacts.

The King has had other mistresses, the book explains, but they were discrete Spanish women. Corinna was different and more dangerous, Romero said, leading Spanish authorities and intelligence services to consider her a threat to the country’s stability.

The King’s fall during a hunting trip to Botswana in 2012 was a pivotal event. People started wondering why he took such a lavish trip during an economic crisis, and why he was with a German princess and not Queen Sofia.

Queen Sofia waves at the Madrid Open. © Casa de S.M. el Rey

Queen Sofia waves at the Madrid Open. © Casa de S.M. el Rey

King Juan Carlos tried to recover his popularity and resisted abdicating, worried about then-Prince Felipe’s ability to take over and then-Princess Letizia’s fitness to be Queen. He never fully warmed up to his daughter-in-law.

The Royal Household pointed out his role as Spain’s hard-working booster, sometimes securing contracts for Spanish companies. But critics wondered about what the King got out of it, and pointed at gifts from Arab rulers.

The public mood plus continued health problems and gossip made it impossible for King Juan Carlos to recover the public’s esteem. Not even a royal apology worked.

More than a year after the abdication, King Felipe and Queen Letizia have helped return high approval ratings for the Crown, according to a new survey.

King Felipe with Italian President Sergio Mattarella at the Royal Palace in Madrid.

King Felipe with Italian President Sergio Mattarella at the Royal Palace in Madrid.

King Felipe has expanded on his father’s budget-cutting and transparency initiatives. Queen Letizia, not of royal blood, has worked to make the Crown more inclusive.

Queen Letizia joins her husband and President Mattarella. © Casa de S.M. el Rey

Queen Letizia joins her husband and President Mattarella. © Casa de S.M. el Rey

Queen Sofia, who is said to keep a distant relationship with her husband, keeps a public agenda in Spain, plus family all over Europe.

The former Greek princess achieved her goal of helping consolidate the restored Spanish Monarchy and secure it for her son.

King Juan Carlos has also stayed on the Royal agenda, but on a diminished capacity. He enjoys travel around the world and Spain, often seen at restaurants.

History will remember him as the man who inherited a dictatorship in the 1970’s and helped craft a progressive Constitutional Monarchy.

He wanted to be the best and longest-serving Bourbon to rule Spain. Romero says he almost got there on both counts.

Other good books about the Spanish Monarchy include, but are not limited to, Paul Preston’s “Juan Carlos: Steering Spain from Dictatorship to Democracy,” Pilar Eyre’s “The Loneliness of the Queen” and Pilar Urbano’s “The Queen Up Close,” both about Queen Sofia.

King Felipe and Queen Letizia in recent days welcomed Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi to Spain for an official visit.

© Casa de S.M. el Rey

© Casa de S.M. el Rey

His Majesty and senior Spanish officials met with Al-Sisi at Zarzuela Palace. The King and Queen then hosted a lunch at the Royal Palace in downtown Madrid.

© Casa de S.M. el Rey

© Casa de S.M. el Rey

At least some human rights activists blasted the visit because of Al-Sisi’s low tolerance for dissent.

But King Felipe stressed important ties between both countries, particularly in economic development and fighting terrorism.

“Spain is and will continue to be committed to the Arab world in general and Egypt specifically,” said the King.

Also late last month, Don Felipe presided over a meeting of the Royal Institute of Strategic and International Studies.

© Casa de S.M. el Rey

© Casa de S.M. el Rey

King Felipe studied international relations and added a foreign policy aide at Zarzuela Palace among his reforms.

Queen Letizia finally did it. She cut her hair off. Well, some of it.

Her Majesty has for years kept her hair long and sometimes used styling techniques to make it look short.

© Casa de S.M. el Rey

© Casa de S.M. el Rey

She appeared to have it short during an awards ceremony early in April, pictured above, and a Royal Palace gathering to honor the winner of the prestigious Cervantes award, pictured below.

20150422_reyes_almuerzo_cervantes_04

But then it appeared to be longer during the actual awards ceremony the very next day, pictured below.

20150423_reyes_premio_cervantes_07But there’s no denying it — she cut it off.

reina_sofia_discapacidad_20150429_01

Queen Letizia and Queen Sofia at El Pardo palace.

While Queen Letizia often changer her hair style, her mother-in-law, Queen Sofia, has kept the same hairstyle — sometimes longer, sometimes shorter — for decades. It fits her well.

King Felipe and Queen Letizia mourned the dozens of Spaniards and other people who died during a recent airplane crash in the French Alps.

© Casa de S.M. el Rey

© Casa de S.M. el Rey

Their Majesties attended a memorial service in Barcelona, along with victim families and international representatives.

© Casa de S.M. el Rey

© Casa de S.M. el Rey

The King and Queen, as is customary in Spain, spent a considerable mount of time after the service to visit with the grieving.

© Casa de S.M. el Rey

© Casa de S.M. el Rey

The service was at Barcelona’s famed Sagrada Familia Basilica, which has yet to be completed.

Last week Queen Letizia surprised many royal watchers by wearing a new tiara, reportedly a years-old gift from King Felipe.

Her Majesty wore the tiara for the first time for Danish Queen Margrethe’s 75th birthday celebrations.

© Agencia EFE

© Agencia EFE

The new tiara, by Spanish jeweler Ansorena, is made of diamonds and pearls, and includes a Fleur-de-lis, a symbol of the House of Bourbon.

Many of the jewels associated with Spain’s Royal Family have been sold or lost over the years, amid war and political turmoil.

Still, beyond a crown and scepter used to symbolize the monarchy, some tiaras have remained. Plus, Queen Sofia incorporated some more from her families.

A bigger Fleur-delis tiara also from Ansorena was a gift from King Alfonso XIII to Queen Victoria Eugenia in the early 1900’s.

Queen Victoria Eugenia.

Queen Victoria Eugenia.

Both Queen Sofia and Queen Letizia have often worn a floral tiara that belonged to the Royal Family but left the family, according to reports.

Former Spanish dictator Franco bought it for Queen Sofia’s wedding to King Juan Carlos.

It was the gift heard around the world.

Spanish MEP Pablo Iglesias, the head of populist-leftist party Podemos, broke with protocol today when he handed King Felipe a box set of the hit show Game of Thrones.

His Majesty was visiting European institutions in Brussels, and met with a number of Spanish representattives there.

European Parliament President Martin Schulz welcomes King Felipe.

European Parliament President Martin Schulz welcomes King Felipe. © Casa de S.M. el Rey

Iglesias, an anti-establishment, anti-austerity leader, said the King should watch the show to get clues on the state of Spanish politics.

The King, according to media outlets, said he had yet to watch the show and appeared amused by the gift.

© Casa de S.M. el Rey

Iglesias is to the King’s left, in an untucked shirt. © Casa de S.M. el Rey

Also this week, the King spoke at a meeting of the World Travel and Tourism Council in Madrid.

Queen Letizia headed a meeting on rare diseases in Barcelona, one of her interests, and visited the Artillery Academy in Segovia.

Queen Letizia meeting Segovia residents. © Casa de S.M. el Rey

Queen Letizia meeting Segovia residents. © Casa de S.M. el Rey

And King Juan Carlos presided over a summit on Latin American issues at Comillas Pontifical University in Madrid.

© Casa de S.M. el Rey

© Casa de S.M. el Rey

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