Leonor, the teenage princess of Spain, is shipping out.
The soon-to-be high school grad is set to spend a year at the Army Military Academy in Zaragoza. She will then attend naval school, where she’ll sail the famed training tall ship Juan Sebastián Elcano, before joining the Spanish Air Force Academy.
“As in all parliamentary monarchies, [the heir] has to have a military background and a military career,” defense minister Margarita Robles said. “In due course, the commander-in-chief of the armed forces will be a woman, and in recent years we have been making a very important effort to incorporate women into the armed forces.”
“It’s an essential step in the life of Her Royal Highness … toward the leadership of our country,” Robles added.
Leonor, who is referred to as Her Royal Highness the Princess of Asturias, is the oldest child of King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia. She will become the head of state when her father steps down or dies, unless a male heir is born.
King Felipe also spent a year at each of Spain’s military academies in the 1980s. He took the throne in 2014 after his father, Juan Carlos, abdicated amid a number of financial scandals.
Leonor, who turns 18 in October, will begin her training in August after she graduates from UWC Atlantic College in Wales. At a press conference on Tuesday, Robles said the princess could study for university degrees after completing her training.
“Princess Leonor knows of the demands and sacrifice that military life entails and she is very aware of the honor of training and serving alongside the men and women of our Armed Forces,” King Felipe said in a statement.
“Military education provides very complete and adequate technical and human training to guarantee the commitment of permanent service to Spanish society,” he added.
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