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Childhood changes for Spain's eight-year-old queen-to-be

Published on Jun 8, 2014 12:49 PM

MADRID (AFP) - Like many eight-year-old girls, she eats in the school canteen and goes to ballet class. Her friends know her as Leonor - but soon they will have to call her "Highness".

Her childhood will not be the same now that her grandfather Juan Carlos is stepping down as king of Spain.

Once her father Felipe is crowned king, she will no longer be "Infanta", but Princess - and one day Queen. She will be the youngest direct royal heir in Europe.

She will step out for the cameras to zoom in on her blue eyes, blonde hair and toothy smile. Royal-watchers say those may be just the charms the Spanish royal family needs to save its image.

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