Look out, Duchess Kate, you have a royal rival

(USA TODAY) -- She's a beautiful royal brunette, exquisitely fashionable, a mom from a middle-class family and popular — and her name isn't Kate.

She's the next queen of Spain, Princess Letizia. She's not only going to give Duchess Kate of Cambridge a run for the royal money, she's stealing ahead of her in the queenship stakes.

Letizia's father-in-law, King Juan Carlos of Spain, abdicated today in favor of his son, Crown Prince Felipe, who now becomes King Felipe IV.

That means Letizia becomes a queen immediately, whereas Kate has to wait until after her grandmother-in-law and her father-in-law, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles, pass from the scene and husband Prince William comes to the throne. (The British royal and Spanish royal families are related but it's complicated.)

Letizia, 41, is nearly a decade older than Kate and already the mother of two girls, Infanta Leonor, 8, and Infanta Sofia, 7. Born Letizia Ortiz, she's a commoner, the first commoner queen in Spanish history, and had a career as TV anchorwoman before marriage. She also had been married and divorced before wedding the Prince of Asturias (the title for the Spanish heir to the throne) in glittery royal nupitals in 2004.

She's just as beautiful as Kate and in some respects even more fashionable, and is especially known for her fabulous high-heels (she's so tiny next to her tall prince, she needs them).


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