Spanish crown princess will attend boarding school in Wales

Princess Leonor
King Felipe with his daughter Princess Leonor who is to attend the school, housed at the 12th-century St Donat's Castle, is one of 18 United World Colleges (UWC) that span from Canada to Swaziland. Source: Andres Ballesteros/AFP

Princess Leonor, heir to the Spanish throne, will attend boarding school at a medieval castle in Wales, the royal household said on Wednesday. The 15-year-old daughter of King Felipe will begin her International Baccalaureate in the autumn at the UWC Atlantic College, located 25 kilometres (15 miles) west of Cardiff, it said in a statement. The school, housed at the 12th-century St Donat’s Castle, is one of 18 United World Colleges (UWC) that span from Canada to Swaziland. Founded by German educationalist Kurt Hahn, UWC schools blend rigorous education and community service and are “characterised by their open and critical spirit”, the statement said.

The two terms at the school will cost 67,000 pounds (76,500 euros, US$92,000) which will be covered by the annual allowance that King Felipe and his wife Letizia receive from the state, it added. With students selected on merit and most on scholarships, UWC schools are funded by governments, ex-students and philanthropists. Their alumni include fellow royals like King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands and the Belgian heir to the throne, Princess Elisabeth.

Princess Leonor

Princess Leonor and her father King Felipe VI take part in the Princess of Girona Foundation Awards. Source: Pau Barrena/AFP

Princess Leonor: A trilingual academic journey

Princess Leonor’s education started at the Spanish Royal Guard, a daycare for children. She then began her first year of primary school at Santa María de los Rosales School in Aravaca. She is fluent in both Spanish and English, and has studied Mandarin.

In 2018, Princess Leonor gave her first public speech, held at the Instituto Cervantes in Madrid, where she read the first of 169 articles of the Magna Carta, Spain’s Constitution, following the footsteps of her father who was also 13 years old when he gave his first public address. This speech coincidentally was on the 40th anniversary of the constitution and her 13th birthday. In 2019, Princess Leonor made a speech at the Princess of Girona Foundation Awards in Barcelona, where she spoke Spanish, Catalan, English and Arabic.

Additional reporting by AFP