Reaching the landmark teenage years usually calls for a big party with friends and relatives, a celebration of moving from childish pursuits to a more responsible age. But during these difficult COVID-19 times all such plans have to be scaled back and even Princesses find their festivities affected. Princess Sofia of Spain is Queen Letizia and King Felipe’s youngest daughter and she would have normally headed to class as usual at her Santa María de los Rosales school in Madrid – probably taking some treats in to share with classmates there – followed by a party with friends and family. But since March 11 Spain has been under a strict lockdown with homeschooling the new normal and only quick excursions out allowed.
Of course, having to stay in the large confines of the Palacio de la Zarzuela won’t be too much of a hardship for the young lady and she’ll have older sister Princess Leonor, 14, to keep her company. The two young Princesses recently gave a video message to the Spanish population coinciding with the daily applause to thank health care workers at 8pm. It was the first time that Sofia had given a public address and she confidently addressed the camera, saying: “You don’t need to be a grown up to be aware of the incredible difficulties we are going through in Spain and other countries.” She went on to express her gratitude to all those lending a hand in so many different ways: “We want to say thank you to all the people who are helping out and looking after us in so many ways.”
Both Sofia and Leonor have picked up their mom’s love of reading. On the same day as their video address, they also participated in a reading of the Spanish literature classic El Quijote with a number of other readers via video hook-up. The initiative was organised by the cultural organization El Círculo de Bellas Artes, who said that the princesses wanted to “highlight the importance of reading among children and young people, especially during these difficult times.” So if Sofia is a bit down that her birthday isn’t what she dreamed it would be, at least she can take consolation into losing herself in one of her favorite books.