MADRID – The heir to the Spanish throne, 15-year-old Princess Leonor, is going to study in Wales, the Spanish royal household said Wednesday in an announcement that caused a commotion over the state broadcaster's reporting.
Leonor de Borbón, the eldest of King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia's two daughters, will attend UWC Atlantic College, based at the 12th century St. Donat’s Castle on the southern Welsh coast, a statement from the royal household said.
Leonor will begin her two-year course at the boarding school this summer. She turns 16 at the end of October. Her parents will personally meet the course's cost of 67,000 pounds ($92,700, 76,500 euros).
The royals are this year receiving more than 8.4 million euros ($10.2 million) from the state budget to maintain their household.
The Spanish royal family has been at the center of a controversy in recent years over the conduct of former monarch Juan Carlos, Leonor's grandfather, whose financial affairs are under investigation by magistrates. He went to live abroad last year to relieve the pressure on the current king, his son.
The news about the princess caused a rumpus at Spanish state broadcaster RTVE, which issued an “urgent statement” after an on-screen headline reported that “Leonor is leaving Spain, like her grandfather.”
RTVE “deeply regrets the grave mistake,” the statement said, promising those responsible will be “relieved of their duties.”
The school, for students ages 16-19, has 350 students and was established in 1962. Princess Leonor obtained admission to the school anonymously, taking several tests before being accepted, the royal household said.
UWC International, the organization that oversees the school the princess will attend and a network of sister institutions, said Leonor will “join 4,500 other students from 155 countries, and from a diverse range of backgrounds, who will be studying at one of our 18 schools" around the world.
“It doesn’t matter where a student comes from to access a UWC (United World Colleges) education, with over 75% of all students receiving partial or full scholarships," Jens Waltermann, the group's executive director, said.
The schools aim to “bring together young people who would otherwise never meet” and “educate global citizens who want to engage in discourse, whatever their background or beliefs,” Waltermann added.
The royal household statement noted the school's “open and critical approach.”