By Carlos Gosch
MADRID – Reporters Carmen Enriquez and Emilio Oliva have delivered in their new book “Los Principes. Preparados para reinar” (The prince and princess: prepared to rule) an in-depth portrait of the heir to the Spanish crown, Felipe de Borbon, and his wife, Letizia Ortiz, with statements from more than 60 people who have observed and participated with them in official and private activities.
“We’ve tried to create a journalistic, correct, honest and entertaining panorama of the prince and princess,” the authors said in an interview with Efe regarding the production of this book, which will hit the bookstores this coming week.
The project began when Enriquez and Oliva, who are also the authors of the 2008 book “Doña Sofia. La reina habla de su vida” (Doña Sofia: The queen speaks about her life), were covering the royal household for their respective media outlets and took a new direction after Felipe and Letizia’s 2004 wedding to acquaint the public more with the future monarchs.
The book gathers personal portraits of the couple, discusses their lifestyle, explains how they perform their work, investigates how they and the monarchy are viewed in Spanish society and also deals with the challenges that they will need to confront in the future.
“We’ve tried at all times to ensure that the portrait is clear, that it is understood and that it entertains, even though it may be talking about something as serious as the future of Spain,” said Emilio Oliva, a reporter for Agencia Efe, Spain’s international news agency.
Beyond discussing the fact that Prince Felipe is a person who is “prepared only too well” to rule Spain, if a bit distant, the book presents the profile of a man who is meticulous in his work, reflective, prudent, a night-owl who gets up early because he has to, who enjoys sandwiches and sipping a glass of wine with his friends, and who is happy with his family life.
“The princess has exercised a positive influence on him,” says Carmen Enriquez, “because she has contributed to making him more open and friendlier. The prince has changed since he’s been with her.”
The book presents Princess Letizia as a person with a great curiosity for learning, a substantial desire to overcome challenges and who – thanks to her eagerness for perfectionism – has managed to adapt to her institutional role, although that same perfectionism on occasion has resulted in her appearing a bit tense at some public events.
The princess has contributed to popularizing an institution that – in and of itself – is a bit rigid, say that authors, who nevertheless warn of the danger that the exhaustive coverage of her by certain elements of the sensationalist press may result in the trivializing of the crown’s activities.
The text goes in depth into the public activities of the future monarchs and also discusses in detail their lives with their daughters – Princess Leonor and Princess Sofia – and it includes anecdotes like the one told by the mother of one of the classmates of the older of the little girls.
“One of her classmates asked her a few months after classes
began, ‘Hey, you. Why are you in the magazines my grandmother has?’ And she answered with great self-confidence: ‘Because I live in a prince’s house.’ To which the little boy answered: ‘My goodness! Well, I ... I live in my grandfather’s house!”
The authors also offer in the book their perceptions of prominent personages within the Spanish political and cultural spheres.
To further reveal the personalities of the prince and princess, the two journalists also have provided the testimony of friends of the couple, as well as people close to their activities who preferred to remain anonymous.
As a result of all these statements and anecdotes, the book concludes that any “fear” about the future succession within the Spanish monarchy is baseless, given that the prince and princess “are prepared to carry out the succession when called upon to do so.” EFE