18 March 2011

Flashback Friday: Letizia's Transformation

Another Princess transformation today, and this time one that some might call a regression. Let's review the evidence, shall we?
Prince Felipe's bachelor love life was favored fodder for the press. His girlfriends were public knowledge, and rumors of Queen Sofia vetoing all non-royal potential spouses were well-spread. So it came as a real shock when he managed to pull off the ultimate ruse: his relationship with Letizia Ortiz was kept secret until the day their engagement was announced.

Letizia's place in the Prince's life may have been undercover, but Letizia herself was a familiar face: she was a journalist and television presenter in Spain. As such, her pre-engagement wardrobe was typically news-ish.
Clean, simple, all business. After the engagement, her appearances were business with the feminine side ramped up. All signs point to her taking a dose of sartorial advice from her future mother-in-law.
Felipe and Letizia married in May of 2004, and she kept up her ladylike princess style well after the ceremony. She spent most of 2005 and a chunk of 2006/2007 pregnant with her two girls in chic maternity styles, and returned to her polished look afterward.
The first glimpses of the much more laid-back, High Street sort of style she espouses today started appearing in 2008. (Also appearing in 2008: a new nose. The royal court confirmed Letizia had surgery on her nose in August that year, which they reported was to fix respiratory problems. To what degree you believe the reasoning given is up to you.) She mixed these casual appearances with her more formal princess gear throughout 2009, and in 2010 the balance shifted largely to the casual and what we see today.
So what prompted the change? Why the downgrade? There's plenty of tabloid reasons to chose from: some like to speculate that her relationship with King Juan Carlos is strained, and there have been rumors of a falling out between Letizia and Felipe's two sisters. Whispers of eating disorders are always present given her tiny frame. And we can't forget that Letizia's younger sister Erika Ortiz died suddenly in February 2007, her death believed to be an intentional overdose of prescription drugs. Any single thing on that list could cause a person to change substantially.

Based on the time frame, I'm inclined to lean towards the economy as the reason: that her use of less expensive chain stores and the general casual feel of her wardrobe is designed to be accessible to the economic concerns of the Spanish people. I understand the logic at work here. But Letizia takes it to an extent that doesn't set well with me, and I've harped on this many times before. I like my royals a little more dressed up than the average bear; if you really are just like the rest of us, where's the reason for people to be extra interested in you? I'd also point out here that the Queen, Felipe, and the rest of the royals haven't undergone similar transformations since the economy crashed. But that's just me, and now it's your turn.

So: what do you think is the real reason for Letizia's transformation?