Spanish monarchy

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Politics of Spain

The Crown - Head of State

Cortes Generales - Legislative branch
   Congress of Deputies
   Regional legislatures
Political parties in Spain
Elections in Spain:
1977 - 1979 - 1982 - 1986
1989 - 1993 - 1996 - 2000

Government - Executive branch
   President of the Government
   Council of Ministers
   Regional governments

Judicial system - Judicial branch
   General Council of the Judicial Power
   Constitutional Court
   Supreme Court
   Regional high courts

   1977 Political Reform Act
   1978 Constitution
Autonomous communities
Madrid (capital city)


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The Spanish monarchy, referred to as the Crown of Spain (Corona de España) in the Spanish Constitution of 1978, is the office of the King or Queen of Spain. The current King of Spain is His Majesty Juan Carlos I.

The King is the head of state and the commander in chief of the Royal Armed Forces. His power is mainly symbolic, because all his acts must be approved by either the President of the Government or the President of the Congress of Deputies to be valid.

The official residence of the Spanish monarch is the Palacio Real de Madrid; however, the royal family actually resides at the Palacio de la Zarzuela on the outskirts of Madrid.

The Heir Apparent of the Spanish Monarchy receives the titles Prince of Asturias, Prince of Gerona and Prince of Viana, Asturias being on behalf of kingdom of Castile and Leon, Gerona on behalf of kingdom of Aragon, and Viana, a disputed title, on behalf of kingdom of Navarre. (There are, besides King of Spain as King of Navarre, also the Kings of France and Navarre, whose hereditary descent to Navarre is basically more legal. Spanish Navarre being a part of Spain originating from conquest of southern portion of Navarrese kingdom by Ferdinand II of Aragon. French Navarre, the portion north of the Pyrenees, belongs to France whose kings inherited it when Henry of Navarre succeeded as Henry IV of France.)


The Royal Standard of Spain
The Royal Standard of Spain

The History of the Spanish monarchy can be traced back to the end of the middle ages, specifically to the alliance between Isabella I of Castile and King Ferdinand II of Aragon, the Catholic Monarchs, Reyes Catolicos. Their daughter Joanna of Castile (who married Philip the Handsome) inherited the kingdom of Castile, although of course not Aragon, which Ferdinand, still alive, kept, and later left it directly to Joanna´s son Charles. Succession custom of Aragon actually was restricted to males only, and it was not totally certain that Charles was entitled to inherit, being son of a daughter. However, no male heir was alive at that moment and Charles´s accession was felt natural. After all, he at least was a male. (A century earlier, when King John I of Aragon died, his brother Martin inherited, not John´s daughter Yolande nor Yolande´s sons. When King Martin of Aragon died in turn, without surviving issue, Estates of Aragon chose his sister´s son Ferdinand, second son of King of Castile, as next monarch, and not Yolande nor Yolande´s son.)

Son of Joanna, Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, was the first person to be monarch of both Castile and Aragon, and he is commonly considered to be the first king of Spain. Charles son, Philip II, kept both crowns and also acquired the kingdom of Portugal. It was then that the concept of "The Spains" (referring to the different kingdoms in the Iberian Peninsula) started to be used—which makes Philip II in a sense the first king of Spain. However, after 60 years, Portugal seceded.

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