Meeting a real life prince & princess & breaking protocols

Last night I met a real blue blood. Yes, there he is laughing up a storm with me, a commoner.

Felipe, Prince of Asturias, is next in line to the throne of Spain. What--you'd no idea that Spain has royalty? And do they ever! And it's a fascinating, storied, and intriguing history that dates back to the infamous Queen Isabella.

I love that his name, Felipe Juan Pablo Alfonso de Todos los Santos de Borbón y Grecia, is as tall as his height which is about 7 feet. Could have been a b-ball player if he weren't a prince, I think.

The affair was a reception for his royal highness and his beautiful wife, former television journalist and commoner, Princess Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano to meet Hispanic leaders in the US. They are traveling to several US cities this week to get to know the creme de la creme of Latino USA.  New Jersey was next on the itinerary so I told him that the best thing about Jersey, was not the shore, but the view of the Manhattan skyline. I should know, I grew up looking and being inspired by it.

I broke some royal protocols:

First, since the Prince touched me when we took this pic, I touched him back. Lucky for me, the protocol breach did not cause the fire storm that First Lady Michele Obama's touch of the Queen of England did a few years back. But the biggest protocol break was even hinting that I preferred shaking the hand of the Princess before I shook the Prince's hand. I was told that that would be a no no. First the man, then the woman I was told sternly. Really? The greeting line broke up before I got to go for it and greet Princess Letizia first. But later in the evening when I was introduced to the Princess I whispered my plans to break protocol and greet her first she smiled widely and said, "Gracias," the way Spanish people from Spain pronounce their s. It was to be one of the only times that the Princess smiled last night. (Waiting for the photo that captured the moment with my new best friend, Princess Letizia)

So the reason for all this hoopla is that Spain, including its Royals, is interested, as is everyone else in the world, in understanding (read exploiting the power) of the massive US Latino community. Prince Felipe, who seemed normal, and totally comfortable in his blue blood skin, shared that with these meet and greets he hopes to be able to have closer ties to US Latino leaders, folks like the great group of young leaders, Jovenes Lideres that I am part of. Ultimately, he says he wants to help the US have better relations with Latin America. Good luck with that I told him. 

But it was the answer to my question about Spain's current financial crisis. Did he want to share any thoughts on how Spain was to get out of this mess? Prince Felipe's answer was Romney-esque, "everyone has to work harder." Really? What? Spanish men and women aren't working hard already? And, isn't unemployment among Spain's young people like close to 40 percent? His response made a few of my Spanish from Spain friends, commoners who contribute taxes that go toward paying Prince Felipe and his Royal family, almost spill their Albariños.  It was a cause of great debate last night whether part of the austerity plans should include that all the Royal families of Europe get real jobs!

Royalty is a fascinating topic for many around the world, but one that never really crosses my mind. I am neither a royal follower or lover, not of Spain or England or Monaco or whatever.  While the Royal lineage thing is cool in the way that it's amazing that thanks to everyone can find out much their ancestry, I believe that taxing residents to keep a Royal family is outdated in 21st century economics.

Still, it was interesting to experience the buzz around a real life Prince and really cool to meet a blue blood who seemed like he could hang out with commoners, have a beer and totally be a blast. Now get a real job Felipe!


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