Michelle Obama reveals how she and Queen Letizia bonded over raising “strong, smart and outspoken” young women. On Thursday, June 30, FLOTUS joined forces with Queen Letizia of Spain at the Palace of Zarzuela in Madrid as part of her three-country tour to promote Let Girls Learn. According to reports, Obama, 52, embraced Letizia, 43, in the palace’s gardens before heading to the Matadero cultural center where Obama presented her initiative, which aims to “ensure adolescent girls get the education they deserve” in countries where resources are’t readily accessible, the website reads.
“Like me, Queen Letizia is the mother of two beautiful daughters, and we’ve had the opportunity to bond over many issues, including the joys and the challenges of raising strong, smart, outspoken girls,” Obama said, referencing her daughters Malia, 17, and Sasha, 15, and Letizia’s girls Leonor, Princess of Asturias, 10, and Infanta Sofía of Spain, 9. “And I think that our warm friendship very much reflects the close relationship between our two nations.”
“Every one of us has the power and obligation to be a champion for girls around the world,” she continued, adding that inequalities among men and women aren’t limited to developing nations. She also urged the audience, consisting mainly of young people, to break down gender norms. “You can start with how you raise your own children if you choose to have them,” said Obama. “Maybe it means telling your sons that it’s okay to cry, and your daughters that it’s okay to be bossy. Maybe it means encouraging your daughters, not just your son, to study math and science and sign up for the football team. And if there isn’t a team for girls, maybe it means asking why not.”
In her own speech, Letizia touched on what she learned about the impact of education in undeserved communities while working with the Spanish Cooperation, an organization which aims to eradicate poverty and aid developing nations around the world. “I think today, we are all clear that the education of girls transforms, protects, is productive,” she said, noting that in Spain girls’ education can “transform and protect” and is “inextricably linked to social justice and democracy, family welfare, equality and better health and nutrition.”
Of course, this isn’t the first time Letizia and Obama have joined forces. The pair last met up at a gala in Washington, D.C. in September 2015. Meanwhile, the event comes at the tail-end of Obama’s tour, which included trips to Liberia and Morocco in addition to Spain.