There is a very special group of Royals in my opinion. They are the ones who are high ranked enough to wield significant power yet are not the ruling monarch themselves. These tend to also show genuine practicality and humility due to the fact that they do not sit on the throne. Often these members of Royal families get very hands-on with charity work which ends up with them investing their lives in the service of their family, country and chosen charity organizations. One such a figure is the younger sister of the current Queen of Hispania. She is, Her Royal Highness Princess Isabella of Hispania, Duchess of Toledo.
The Princess or Infanta as the title is called in her native country, was born in 1980. Life at the Hispanian court was like most of the country and its culture, a paradox. The Hispanian court was lavishly opulent but the traditions of the Royal family were regimented and spartan. they had access to and the use of great wealth but were taught that it was not theirs to dispose of as they wish. This, along with a nurtured devotion to God and church was also a non-negotiable for a Hispanian Royal. During this time before the 96 Revolution, Infanta Isabella was the second daughter of the heir to the Hispanian throne, the Prince of Catalone. He and his mother, the reigning Queen Isabella II both lost their lives in the Roswind Castle missile attack of the Bloody Revolution. This obviously sent the world, Hispania and Isabella's family reeling with shock.
Aside from the personal and emotional consequences the family had to bear from this tragedy, there were also political consequences and Royal duty that came down on the bereaved family. For all intents and purposes, even with the support of an entire nation, the Princess of Cataljone was now a widow and single mother. Where she was raising a happy family with a loving husband she was also putting in all remaining energy in preparing herself to support her husband as his Queen one day. Now along with the loss of loved ones even her Royal duty was stripped away. One might say it was a blessing in disguise as she could now devote herself entirely to her daughters while the nation was governed by an Interim Council representing the young Queen Maria, Isabella's sister. The Infanta seemed to recover quickely from the loss of her father and grandmother and she became her mother's strength and inspiration. She did also test her mother's faith and patience as she wanted to break the confines of fear that had settled on them.
The imposing Castillo Trono De Seguro was the childhood home of Infanta Isabella and remains the official residence of the Hispanian Royal Family.
For security the family moved to the remote Catillo Trone De Seguro where the teenage children were raised in veritable complete isolation behind the high walls of this Royal castle. There the girls allowed to play with children of the staff allowing for some form of normality. A famous anecdote from this time relates how the Infanta arranged for herself to be taught how to rockclimb on the rock faces that formed the foundation of the castle. She had encouraged a young member of the military security contingent to take her for a lesson but did not plan her mother's response when she was seen descending the castle wall unexpectedly from the outside. Her mother, thinking that Isabella was ''escaping" and running away fainted on the spot. The Dowager Princess Cataljone, their mother, was rarely seen in public and the girls, never. Isabella however later at the age of 25 insisted on representing the family after she had ventured out into the world and even graduated from university. Her sister the Queen, remained under strict security until 2011 but Isabella did an amazing job as the face of the monarchy. She was responsible for initially coaxing her mother out of her fearful self-exile.
Upon mounting the public stage around 2006, the Infanta immediatly faced the challenge of restoring the public's waning confidence in the ''invisible" Royal Family of Hispania. She set about patronizing charities concerned with diabetes as she herself suffers from it and also got very involved with sport promotion and healthy living campaigns. Isabella herself is an ardent tennis player and became very involved with the Hispanian Tennis Trophy, held annually in the capital. She is currently the head of the Olympics Committee of Hispania.
Infanta Isabella (at right) with her cousin, the Duchess of Aragon (far left) at a movie premiere in early 2009, just before her wedding.
In Dec 2009, the wedding of the Infanta and Sir Michael Jennings became the first greatly publized event after the Imperial Ball of Prince Christian Victor. It was also the first Royal wedding to received international attention since the Revolution. Sir Michael Jennings is the younger brother of the Duke of Marlborough. He changed his citizenship to Hispania and as such lost all his inherited titles and honour but was granted the title of Duke of Toledo in his own right by the Queen of Hispania. The couple has a young son and daughter but keep their family life strictly out of the media glare. Her Highness Infanta Gabriella and His Highness Infante Fernando are twins and we will only be lucky enough to get to know them once they come of age. Isabella and her husband both have Hispania's highest Knighthood in the Order of the Triad and as such sit on the Queen's High Governing Council.
Her Royal Highness Infanta Isabella of Hispania and His Grace the Duke of Toledo on their wedding day.
Since 2011 after working for years behind the scenes, Queen Maria at age 39 has properly taken responsibility for representing her country and family publicly. Security has relaxed enough for Royals all over the world to breathe the fresh air of popularity again. Conversely, the pioneering Infanta has retreated more from the limelight, allowing her sister to bask in the glory while she and Don Miguel focus more on their family. She will however always be ready to do her duty for her Queen, country and charity commitments. She is quoted to have said: ''It is not the crown or spotlight that draws me. It is to take joy, to where it lacks." We wish her all the best.
Infanta Isabella with her sister and husband at the 2011 Christmas Ball.