As the locals who represent the ruling family of Spain in 1672, we’re sure that you’ve seen the Royal Trio at some of the city’s favorite events. Now meet Tristan Root, Heather Leonardy, and Alyssa Rogero as they talk about the ins, outs, and favorite moments of being St. Augustine’s Royal Family in 2018. Tristan represents King Carlos; Heather represents Queen Mariana; Alyssa represents Princess Margarita Maria.
St. Augustine Social: Tell us a little bit about the application process. How were you chosen to be a part of the Royal Family?
Alyssa Rogero (Princess Margarita Maria): The Royal Trio candidates are nominated and are then requested to submit an application. The candidates also are requested to provide proof of their Minorcan family lineage. A committee of past Royal Family Queens meet each December to select the Trio for the upcoming year. The Trio portrays the ruling Royal Family in Spain in 1672, the year construction began on the Castillo de San Marcos. Each Royal Family member can trace their lineage back through 450 years of history into antiquity in Spain.
Was there any kind of royal training after you were chosen?
Heather Leonardy (Queen Mariana): There is no official training after being chosen. The former queen was more than gracious and shared her wisdom and insight on the role.
AR: Our “Royal Trio training” comes from prior Royal Family members and is basically “hand-me-down” knowledge and on-the-job training.
Tristan Root (King Carlos): I had to learn how to ride a horse for the Easter Parade. Also I had to make sure I smiled and stood up straight!
What are the duties of a member of the Royal Family?
HL: Being a member of the Royal Family means that you represent the ruling family of Spain in 1672, the year construction began on the Castillo de San Marcos. [We’re] present at all of the Easter Week festival events, as well as numerous other events in the area. The family also makes appearances out of the area, including parades in Tallahassee and Tybee Island.
AR: Behind the scenes, the Royal Family Trio meets with board members frequently to assist with planning of events, fundraising opportunities, and future committee development. Publicly, the Royal Trio participates in many events annually including the Royal Transfer of Trio, Palm Sunday Mass at the Cathedral Basilica, Blessing of the Fleet, Royal Knighting Ceremony, Easter Promenade, Fromajadis, and the Founding Day re-enactment of the landing of Pedro Menendez. The Trio is also invited to represent St. Augustine in multiple parades and special events throughout the state of Florida. Occasionally, out-of-state invitations will arrive as well.
Where do your costumes come from?
AR: Each year, the Trio elect is fitted for our costumes for the upcoming year. Some years, existing costumes have been able to be utilized again. The costume that I currently wear was custom made to fit me by Joan Taylor. She is a local seamstress and past Royal Family Queen. My costume being made by Mrs. Taylor was extremely special to me as she was the Royal Family Queen the same year that my dad served as the Royal Family King.
TR: My Aunt Joan Taylor makes them. She is amazing at what she does. She took a couple of things I liked and added to my costume.
HL: The costumes are one of my favorite parts! The group has a seamstress who volunteers her time to make each costume. She not only makes the costumes for the Trio but for those in the entourage as well. It’s not an easy task, but she gets it done and does it well. She worked around my busy work schedule to do fittings in the evenings and on weekends to make sure my dress fit perfectly, and every detail was just right.
Why did you want to be in this role?
AR: My father, John Christopher Rogero, served as King Carlos in 1985, and my older brother, J. P. Rogero, served as King Carlos in 2013. It’s a sort of family tradition! Since I was a little girl, I would hear my dad tell stories about serving as King Carlos in the Royal Family. I am very proud of my native heritage in the nation’s oldest city and wanted the opportunity to represent my family name.
HL: Being a part of the Royal Family is an honor for heritage natives. My father and father-in-law both grew up in the area and have very fond memories of the Royal Trio from their childhoods. When the opportunity came about, I knew how much joy it would bring to my family, so I went for it, and I’m glad I did!
TR: I thought it would be fun. Also I got to learn about our heritage during the process!
What is your favorite memory from your time in the Royal Family?
HL: If I had to pick just one, it would be the first time a young girl came up to me to have her picture taken and mentioned how she wanted to be like me when she grew up. It was so sweet and genuine, and it brought me a lot of joy.
TR: My favorite memory is riding the horse in the Easter Parade!
Featured image by Brian Miller. Photo contributed by Missy Rogero.