For half a century she has been by his side, a quiet, dignified presence through turbulent decades. But now Spain is beginning to ask just how much more Queen Sofia can take.
Against a backdrop of family financial scandal and an increasingly troubled marriage, Queen Sofia was counting the days until she could escape to London and attend Friday's Jubilee banquet at Windsor Castle – an eagerly anticipated family gathering.
But 48 hours before she was due to leave she was prevented by the government from attending. Declining the invite on her behalf, the Spanish government cited the recent "heightened tensions" with Britain over the ownership of the island of Gibraltar, currently the scene of a row over fishing rights.
The government's decision focused attention once again on the troubled life of the woman whom some are calling the loneliest royal consort in Europe.
"She was really looking forward to it," said Pilar Eyre, whose book The Loneliness of the Queen has been top of the best seller list in Spain since it was published in January. "It was a huge blow for her to be stopped from attending."