Heir to the Spanish throne Princess Leonor donned a facemask and had her temperature checked as her father King Felipe dropped her off at school on the first day back after summer.
The royal, 52, accompanied his teenage daughter, 14, on the school run for the start of the new year at Madrid’s Santa Maria de los Rosales’ School.
Both appeared relaxed as they arrived, before Princess Leonor, who is heir to the throne, stepped out of the vehicle and was temperature checked by a member of staff.
It comes days after Spain became the first country in Western Europe to register 500,000 coronavirus infections, with a second surge in cases that coincided with schools reopening.
It is believed that Princess Leonor is starting of fourth year of secondary education, while her younger sister Princess Sofia is beginning her second year at the school.
The youngster, who was seated in the back of the car with elder sister Princess Leonor and King Felipe, badly hurt her leg during the summer period.
King Felipe appeared typically dapper in a suit and tie for the outing, while Princess Leonor swept her hair into a tidy plait for the return to school.
It has been a challenging summer for the Spanish royal family, after runaway former King Juan Carlos caused shockwaves around the country in August by announcing he was leaving his homeland.
Princess Leonor has now been deemed by some as a saviour of the monarchy, with The Times writing: ‘Attention must turn to the future if the Bourbon monarchy is to survive.
‘It is a responsibility that rests of the shoulders of Leonor, and the reigning king, Felipe VI, knows that, as he introduces her to the country while trying to modernise the monarchy.’
The publication went on to say the young princesses are ‘the future for a modernised monarchy.’
‘Leonor is still very young, but modern, well-educated and a woman — which is important as the feminist movement grows in Spain,’ a palace source reportedly said. ‘She is a great asset.’
Leonor made her public-speaking debut at at awards ceremony in Barcelona last November, where she gave comments in Spanish, Catalan, English and Arabic.
Meanwhile, she and Sofía read from Don Quixote on World Book Day in April, and addressed the nation in a video amid the coronaviurs pandemic.
Her return to school comes as Spain struggles to control a recent spike in infections amid schools reopening across the country.
Recent infections have been more common among younger people who often develop no symptoms thanks to their stronger immune systems, and the death rate remains far below the March-April peak when daily fatalities routinely exceeded 800.
Despite the unwanted milestone, unlike then, hospitals have enough beds to treat Covid-19 patients.
After a first wave in spring that ravaged Spain’s elderly population and overwhelmed the hospital system, authorities brought the outbreak under control with the help of one of the world’s toughest lockdowns.
But as restrictions on movement were lifted and mass testing began in late June, infections rose from a few hundred a day to a new peak of over 10,000 around 10 days ago, outstripping other hard-hit nations such as France, Britain and Italy.
The overall mortality rate since the pandemic first struck is around 6% in Spain, lower than in Italy, Britain and France.
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