Queen Letizia of Spain left Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral after the Westminster Abbey service to travel to New York for the UN General Assembly, local reports have claimed.
The mother-of-two, 50, did not attend Her Majesty’s Committal Service at St George’s Chapel in Windsor – leaving her husband King Felipe, 54, to attend with his 83-year-old mother Queen Sofia.
Footage shared online by royal fans show Letizia leaving the Spanish Embassy in London on Monday, where she had been staying since arriving alongside Felipe the day before.
It is thought the Spanish Queen was unable to attend the Windsor ceremony due to ‘scheduling reasons’, according to ¡Hola!; the royal is understood to be undertaking meetings with UNICEF and an audience with the First Lady of the United States, Jill Biden, as well as marking World Cancer Research Day during the two-day visit.
‘This trip to the Big Apple is one of the most important events of the year on Letizia’s international agenda and… it has been in preparation for a long time, so it cannot be modified, not even for the funeral of Elizabeth II,’ reported Vanitatis.
Thanks to family ties that date back generations, many European royals have a close relationship to the Queen, with King Felipe fondly referring to Her late Majesty as ‘Aunt Lilibet’.
Queen Letizia of Spain went straight back to her royal duties as she hosted a meeting wit UNICEF mental health experts at a hotel in New York
Letizia, 50, was back to royal duties the day after attending the Queen’s state funeral at Westminster Abbey in London on Monday
The Queen of Spain was pictured shaking hands with officials at the UNICEF meeting in New York, a charity of which she is honorary president in Spain
Letizia proved she takes her role with the charity seriously as she met with mental health experts at the engagement in New York
Queen Letizia of Spain left Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral after the Westminster Abbey service (pictured left) to travel to New York for the UN General Assembly, local reports have claimed. Pictured right, Letizia outside the Spanish Embassy in London
According to reports, the mother-of-two, 50, did not attend Her Majesty’s Committal Service at St George’s Chapel in Windsor – leaving her husband King Felipe, 54, to attend with his 83-year-old mother Queen Sofia (pictured)
Footage shared online by royal fans is said to show Letizia leaving the Spanish Embassy in London on Monday, where she had been staying since arriving alongside Felipe the day before. Pictured, the Spanish royal couple at the Westminster Abbey service
Keen to express their grief, Felipe and Letizia were among the first monarchs to view Her Majesty lying-in-state at Westminster Hall on Sunday – before joining other world leaders and royals at the Buckingham Palace for the so-called ‘reception of the century’, hosted by King Charles III and the Queen Consort.
The pair looked solemn and bowed as they paused to look at the late monarch’s coffin on the catafalque in Westminster Hall. Felipe also made the sign of the cross over his chest as he appeared to say a little prayer for the Queen.
The Spanish King and Letizia linked arms as the royal couple, both dressed in black to symbolise their mourning, arrived at the palace in London on Sunday evening.
On Monday, the couple walked arm-in-arm into Westminster Abbey to join 2,000 British and European royals, world leaders, VIPs and hundreds of members of the public for the state funeral.
Letizia, who worked as a journalist before marrying Felipe, appeared deeply solemn as the couple arrived for the historic event. They were joined by Felipe’s parents King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain.
The mother-of-two, who attended the funeral without her two daughters, Leonor and Sofía, wore a black belted dress with a black fascinator and net detailing for the occasion.
Queen Letizia of Spain, 50, joined her husband King Felipe VI, 54, for the Queen’s funeral at Westminster Abbey on Monday
Queen Letizia looked sombre in a black mourning dress as she filed into the event in London with her husband King Felipe VI, who wore full military uniform
The couple pictured inside Westminster Abbey; they visited the Queen lying in State on Sunday afternoon
Wearing a pillbox hat, with her hair loose, the Spanish Queen donned a simple mourning dress, belted at the waist for the funeral
King Felipe VI dressed in full military uniform as the couple joined dozens of other senior royals from European and global monarchies.
The Spanish King is related to the Queen on both sides of his family and has often referred to how he would affectionately nickname Britain’s late monarch as ‘Aunt Lilibet’.
His mother, Queen Sofia, was a third cousin of the Queen and a first cousin once removed of the Duke of Edinburgh.
Felipe’s father, Juan Carlos, is a descendant of Queen Victoria. His grandmother, Princess Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg, was the daughter of Queen Victoria’s youngest daughter, Princess Beatrice.
Juan Carlos, 83, who abdicated in 2014 in favour of his son Felipe VI, 53, has been living in Abu Dhabi since summer 2020 after becoming the target of several probes in Spain over his financial dealings.
In a letter to King Charles posted on the Casa Real Twitter account following her death, King Felipe said he would ‘dearly’ miss his aunt.
The Spanish royals made the short journey from Madrid this weekend to mourn England’s Queen
The Spanish royals walked into Westminster Abbey behind Queen Rania and King Abdullah II of Jordan
Thanks to family ties that date back generations, many European royals have a close relationship to the Queen. King Felipe has previously recounted how he would refer to the Queen as ‘Aunt Lilibet’
He wrote: ‘Your Majesty, dearest Charles. Deeply saddened by the sorrowful news of the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, your beloved mother.
‘I would like to offer Your Majesty and the British people, on my behalf and on the behalf of the Spanish government and people, our most heartfelt condolences.’
He continued: ‘Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth has undoubtedly witnessed, written and shaped many of the most relevant chapters in the history of our world during the last seven decades.
‘Her sense of duty, commitment and a whole life devoted to serving the people of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland set an example for all of us and will remain as a solid and valuable legacy for future generations.
‘Queen Letizia and I send Your Majesty and the whole family our love and prayers. You are all in our hearts and thoughts. We will miss her dearly.’
King Felipe VI, who was related to the Queen, looked solemn as he prepared to bid a final farewell
The Spanish royals, who were attending without their daughters Leonor and Sofía, make their way through the Abbey
Carrying two orders of service and with one hand touching his red military belt, King Felipe VI walks alongside his wife Letizia
The simple committal service at St George’s Chapel contrasted with the earlier state funeral, with the Queen’s close staff represented, including her senior dresser and personal adviser Angela Kelly, alongside individuals like Earl Spencer, the brother of Diana, Princess of Wales.
Baron Parker – the Lord Chamberlain and a former MI5 chief, and the most senior official in her royal household – ‘broke’ his wand of office by dismantling it into two halves and laying them on her coffin.
As the committal service drew to a close the sovereign’s piper, Pipe Major Paul Burns played a lament and walked away from the congregation, his tune fading into the chapel air.
Earlier in the day, the state funeral at Westminster Abbey was attended by dignitaries including hundreds of heads of state, and with London full with mourners the event called for the largest policing operation undertaken by the Metropolitan Police.
Among the 2,000-strong congregation at the abbey were foreign royalty, leading figures from UK life and world leaders including US President Joe Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron, New Zealand Prime Minister and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.
The couple joined royals from across the globe, pictured here with Queen Mathilde and King Philippe of Belgium
European royals unite: Netherland’s Queen Beatrix, front left, walks with Netherland’s King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima, Sweden’s King Carl Gustaf XVI and Queen Silvia and Spain’s King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia at Westminster Abbey
Revealed: How the monarchies of Belgium, Spain, the Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Luxembourg are related to the Queen
During his sermon, the Archbishop of Canterbury told the congregation the outpouring of emotion for the Queen ‘arises from her abundant life and loving service, now gone from us’.
Justin Welby described the Queen as having touched ‘a multitude of lives’ and being a ‘joyful’ figure for many. He told mourners: ‘People of loving service are rare in any walk of life. Leaders of loving service are still rarer.
‘But in all cases those who serve will be loved and remembered when those who cling to power and privileges are forgotten.
‘The grief of this day – felt not only by the late Queen’s family but all round the nation, Commonwealth and world – arises from her abundant life and loving service, now gone from us. She was joyful, present to so many, touching a multitude of lives.’
Mr Welby, standing in the church where kings and queens have been crowned since 1066, also said that the Queen had declared on her 21st birthday ‘that her whole life would be dedicated to serving the nation and Commonwealth’.
He added: ‘Rarely has such a promise been so well kept. Few leaders receive the outpouring of love we have seen.’