A Guest Post
Anxiety isn’t a new thing in royal weddings: from Prince William and Kate Middleton (who confided in the Archbishop of Canterbury their fears about the pressures that public scrutiny could put on their marriage) right through to Prince Harry, who was filled with “nerves” at his wedding (in stark contrast to what the Express called Meghan Markle’s “formidable poise”). Recently, it was revealed that Queen Letizia of Spain (who wed King Felipe VI in March, 2004) also encountered anxiety and doubt. It was exactly one month before her wedding, when she had stepped into the atelier of renowned designer, Pertegaz. She was said to have had an argument with her betrothed prior to her visit to the fashion house, and to have announced that the wedding was off – as reported in Spanish newspaper, El Español.
Arguments On Protocol
The argument between the lovers was said to have been set off during a plane ride from Madrid to Barcelona. Such was Letizia’s state upon arrival that she was said to have threatened to cancel the whole affair, that she was no longer willing to wed Felipe. Staff brought her a cup of tea to calm her down, but she didn’t achieve a more relaxed state until several hours later. Her jitters are reminiscent of Princess Diana’s anxiety in the months leading up to her wedding. In a recorded transcript of tapes published by the Daily Mail, she described her struggles with bulimia and anxiety. She was triggered, she said, by her fiancée’s description of her as “a bit chubby”, but without a doubt, the unprecedented level of global media interest in the upcoming wedding did plenty to fuel her fight or flight response.
How Common Is Pre-Wedding Anxiety?
Anxiety among royals and royals-to-be in the weeks prior to a wedding is indeed more intense than it is among the general population, with all eyes on the world and intense media pressure converting what is normally an intimate affair into a public spectacle. For everyday folk, preserving mental wellbeing during the preparations is much easier. It involves coming to terms with imperfection, planning way ahead of time and, if necessary, hiring the help of a well-reputed wedding planner. For royals, of course, stress does not arise from having to organize, plan, and budget for a wedding. It stems from the knowledge that media scrutiny and criticism are inevitable.
Rising To The Occasion
Queen Letizia and King Felipe VI have been married for over 15 years now, and if one thing characterises this royal, it is her calm and professional behaviour at each and every event she attends. Letizia is a big supporter of mental health in Spain, having recently attended a conference on the subject in one of Madrid’s locked-down zones. She has expressed great interest in improving mental health during the global health crisis through services such as free psychological assistance (via telephone) to those who are battling unprecedented stress and frustration. Spain is one of Europe’s most affected zones, and both healthcare and the economy are posing major challenges to mental health. Queen Letizia hopes to highlight the importance of keeping anxiety, depression and stress in check during what is undoubtedly a high-risk time for the Spanish and worldwide populations.
Queen Letizia is known for her calm demeanour as well as her interest in mental health, so it is interesting to have recently discovered that she was afflicted by anxiety in the days prior to her wedding. Such was the stress that took over her that she wondered if she could go through with her wedding. Her experience echoes that of thousands of brides across the globe, but it is also one of the many factors that have strengthened her resolve to improve the mental health and wellbeing of her countrymen and women.
A Guest Post