Last modified: 14 July 2014

The country

The state is known as El Reino de España in its national language. This means the Kingdom of Spain. The country is being reigned by the Borbón dynasty.

In 711 the Muslims conquered the West gothic State. In the north some Christian areas stayed, like Asturia, Castile, Navarre, Aragon, Léon and the county of Barcelona. Sometimes these kingdoms were independent, sometimes they were united. The Spanish monarchy reached her climax around 1500 under the reign of Queen Isabella I of Castile and King Ferdinand V of Aragon, who managed to unite whole Spain and sent Christopher Columbus to the other side of the ocean where he discovered America. Most of the colonies Spain conquered in these years became independent in the 19th century.

After the Succession War (1700-1713) Spain got a Bourbon king, Felipe V, grandson of King Louis XIV of France. Since then only two non-Bourbon kings reigned over Spain: Joseph Bonaparte (1805-1814), a brother of the Emperor Napoleon I, and Prince Amadeo of Savoy (1871-1873). After the last on Spain was a republic for one year, but became a monarchy again afterwards. King Ferdinand VII became King after 1814. When he died in 1833 a civil war broke out, as the supporters of Don Carlos, brother of the King, didn’t recognize the new Queen Isabella II. Spain was torn to pieces by the Carlistic wars of 1834-1840 and 1872 and 1876. Isabella II had to fly the country in 1868 and abdicated in 1870 in favour of her son Alfonso who became King Alfonso XII in 1874 after a coup d’état. He died in 1885.

His son Alfonso XIII was born as a king in 1886. In 1931 the people asked for a republic and Alfonso XIII had to leave the country. He died in 1941 and was followed as head of the family by his son Juan. Soon the republic was involved in a bloody civil war, and in 1936 general Francisco Franco declared himself head of the state and reigned as a dictator until his death on November 22nd 1975. In 1947 he had enacted a bill about his succession: his successor would be a king again. It didn’t say who that king would be. In 1948 general Franco laid his eye on the young prince Juan Carlos, the son of pretender Juan, who afterwards was brought up by Franco in Spain. On July 22nd 1969 Juan Carlos finally officially was designated as heir to the throne, and Spain once again became a monarchy in 1975. In February 1981 a hundred members of the Guardia Civil committed a coup d’état and held the government, the national congress and many senators hostage. King Juan Carlos however formed a provisional government and as commander-in-chief of the Spanish army he ordered action. After 24 hours the coup was over. His appearance made a big impression on the people of Spain.


The current sovereign is Felipe VI Juan Pablo Alfonso de Todos los Santos, King of Spain. He was born at the Nuestra Señora de Loreto Clinic in Madrid, Spain, on 30 January 1968.

He is the son of Juan Carlos I, King of Spain (born 1938) and his wife Princess Sofia of Greece and Denmark (born 1938).


Felipe VI succeeded his father after his abdication at the Royal Palace in Madrid, Spain, on 18 June 2014, which came into effect at midnight on 19 June 2014.

The King was proclaimed at Congress of Deputies in Madrid, Spain, on 19 June 2014.

Other details

The King’s motto is Plus Ultra, which means Still further.

The King is a Roman Catholic.

Marriage and descendants

King Felipe VI is married to Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano (born 1972) since 2004.

The couple has two daughters, Infanta Leonor (born 2005) and Infanta Sofía (born 2007).

Heir to the throne

The heir to the throne is Infanta Leonor of Spain. She was born at the Ruber International Clinic in Madrid, Spain, on 31 October 2005.

Upon the accession to the throne of her father on 19 June 2014 she received the titles of Princess of Asturias, Princess of Girona and Princess of Viana, Duchess of Montblanc, Countess of Cervera and Lady of Balaguer.

Postal address

Palacio de la Zarzuela
Carretera del Pardo s/n
28071 Madrid


The Crown of Spain shall be inherited by the successors of King Juan Carlos I of Spain, who is the legitimate heir of the dynasty. Succession to the throne shall follow the regular order of primogeniture and representation, the first line always having preference over subsequent lines. Within the same line, the closer grade has preference over the more remote, within the same grade, the male has preference over the female, and in the same sex the elder has preference over the younger. The Crown Prince(ss), from birth or the time he/she acquires the claim, shall hold the title of Prince(ss) of Austrias and other titles traditionally held by the heir to the Crown of Spain. A monarch has to be a spaniard and legally of age. In case all lines designated by law have become extinct, the Cortes Generales shall provide for succession to the throne in the manner most suitable to the interests of Spain. Dynasts will lose their right to succeed to the throne when they marry against the express prohibition of the King and the Cortes Generales, also for their descendants.

Abdications and renunciations shall be settled by an organic act. The consort of the monarch may not assume any constitutional functions, except in accordance with the provisions for the Regency. If a monarch is under age, the father or mother, or in default thereof, the oldest relative of legal age who is nearest in succession to the throne shall immediately assume the office of Regent, which shall exercise during the monarch’s minority. The guardian of the monarch during his/her minority shall be appointed in the will of the deceased monarch. If no guardian has been appointed, the father or mother shall be guardian, as long as they remain widowed. The offices of regent and guardian may not be held by the same person, except by the father, mother or direct ancestors of the monarch. If the monarch becomes unfit for the exercise of his authority, and this incapacity is recognised by the Cortes Generales, the Crown Prince(ss) shall immediately assume the Regency, if he/she is of age. If there is no person entitled to assume the Regency, one, three or five regents shall be appointed by the Cortes Generales.


The King, Majesty, is King of Spain, Castile, Léon, Aragón, the Two Sicilies, Jerusalem, Navarre, Granada, Toledo, Valencia, Galicia, Mallorca, Minorca, Sevilla, Sardinia, Cordoba, Corsica, Murcia, Jaén, the Algarve, Algesiras, Gibraltar, the Canary Islands, East and West Indies, of the continent and the islands of the oceans, Archduke of Austria, Duke of Burgundy, Brabant, Milan, Count of Habsburg, Flanders, Tirol and Barcelona, Duke of Athens and Neopatria, Lord of Biscaye and Molina, Marques of Oristan and Gozianos. The Crown Prince is Royal Highness, Infant of Spain, Prince of Asturias, Prince of Viana and Gerona, Duke of Montblanch, Count of Cervera, Lord of Balaguer. Since 1987 the husband of a Queen will just be Prince of Spain. Only children of the sovereign, his/her heir, and a regent will be Royal Highness, Infant(a) of Spain. Children of Infants will be Excellency, Grande of Spain. A Sovereign can give the title Infant(a) of Spain, with Royal Highness, to family members he wants to distinguish. They all stay Prince(ss) of Bourbon. Titles that are given to members of the royal family before 1978 can’t be inherited by their children.

Royal residences

Since 1962 the King and Queen live at La Zarzuela Palace just outside Madrid in the wooden parkland known as the Monte de El Pardo. Their official residence however is the Royal Palace in Madrid. This palace is used for state occasions and owned by the Spanish State. The crown princely couple lives in a house near La Zarzuela Palace. In the summer La Almudaina, the royal castle at the city of Mallorca, is used by the king as an official residence for state ceremonies and receptions. The family however uses the Palace of Marivent at Mallorca as their actual summer residence.

The Kings and Queens of Spain

Isabella II (1833-1904)1833-1868
Amadeo di Savoia Duke of Aosta (1845-1890)1870-1873
Alfonso XII (1857-1885)1874-1885
Maria Cristina (1858-1929) (regent)1885-1902
Alfonso XIII (1886-1941)1886/1902-1931
Juan Carlos I (1938- )1975-2014
Felipe VI (1968-)2014-