King Felipe of Spain gives daughter Princess Leonore a royal honour on his 50th birthday

By Ainhoa Barcelona

King Felipe of Spain had a very special birthday this year! The proud dad presented his daughter Princess Leonorwith the Order of the Golden Fleece on Tuesday (Jan. 30) followed by a heartwarming speech. The king was celebrating his 50th year and marked the milestone by bestowing one of the country's highest honours on his 12-year-old daughter.

Addressing his firstborn, Felipe said: "Today, Leonor, you are taking a very important and symbolic step towards your future role, which began on 19 June 2014, when, by constitutional rights, you were named the Princess of Asturias and given other titles that traditionally belong to the heir to the Spanish throne."

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King Felipe holding the hand of Princess Leonore to present her with the Golden Fleece.
Leonor gave her first public curtsy

He continued: "I know it may seem like you have lots of challenges and responsibilities to face, all important and difficult, but know that you have the support of many people who want the best for Spain, for the Crown and for you. Your family will always be at your side, especially your mother and Sofia, who will be with you, supporting you, as will your grandparents and of course, myself. Know that you have my complete trust and that I feel so immensely proud to have presented this Order of the Golden Fleece to you this morning."

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Princess Leonore standing proud next with King Felipe
The princess pictured with her new Order of the Golden Fleece

During the ceremony, Leonor sweetly smiled and curtseyed to her father – her first curtsy in public. The young schoolgirl again curtseyed to her mum Queen Letizia and her paternal grandparents, King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia. She then greeted her maternal grandparents, Paloma Rocasolano and Jesús Ortiz, with two kisses. Leonor's ten-year-old sister Princess Sofia was also present.

Leonor was officially given the order in 2015, but it wasn't ceremoniously presented to her until now. The order, which was created in 1430, has been bestowed to some 1,200 people but only three so far have been female recipients: Beatrice of the Netherlands, Queen Margrethe II of Denmark and Her Majesty the Queen.

Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth II with Queen Letizia and King Felipe
The Queen also has the same prestigious order

Spanish royals pose for rare family photo for Juan Carlos' 80th

Her grandfather King Juan Carlos I – Felipe's dad – also gave out the honour during his reign to notable royals, including King Carl XVI Gustaf of Spain, King Harald V of Norway and Emperor Akihito of Japan.

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