The Spanish royal family has a long and illustrious history dating back to the fifteenth century. With the first two monarchs of Spain being Queen Isabella, I of Castile and King Ferdinand II of Aragon, Spain’s rich chronicle has continued to be deeply intertwined with the modern world.
Spain’s Royal Family is One of the Most Unique Monarchies in Europe
The royal families of Spain have remained magnanimous through many eras of Europe’s history. In contemporary times, they still play a dominant part of Spain’s political and social sphere.
Here are a few interesting facts about the Spanish royal family that you probably didn’t know about. To brush up on your knowledge of Spanish history, check out our post on 18 Fun & Interesting Facts About Spain. Let’s jump straight in.
King Juan Carlos
(Image by Place Royale – Bel RTL, Facebook.com)
Born in 1938, Juan Carlos Alfonso Víctor María de Borbón y Borbón reigned as king of Spain for 39-years. He was well known for being a significant contributor to Spain’s democratic transition in 1978 and was the first king of Spain to visit America.
Later on, the Spanish king’s reign was tarnished due to his involvement in a groundbreaking corruption scandal involving other Spanish royals. Juan Carlos subsequently abdicated as Spain’s king currently in a self-imposed exile in the United Arab Emirates.
There are rumours of his possible return to his home country.
(Image by Nikolas Polonsky, Facebook.com)
(Image by 062 Es por ti, Facebook.com)
Queen Sophía, born Princess Sophía of Greece and Denmark, met King Juan Carlos on a cruise through the islands of Greece in 1954.
They married in Athens in 1962 and had three separate wedding ceremonies to accommodate for their different religions: their union is widely considered one of the most prestigious European royal unions, given both of their powerful lineages.
Interestingly, Queen Sophía renounced her birthright to the Greek throne upon her conversion to Roman Catholicism. Also, both Queen Sophía and King Juan Carlos are descended from the late Queen Victoria of England, making the royal family of Spain blood relatives of Queen Elizabeth of England.
(Image by Antonio Montilla Ortega, Facebook.com)
The first of Juan Carlos’s daughters, Cristina, married Iñaki Urdangarin, A famous Spanish businessman. The Spanish Princess is also an avid sailor, competing in the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul.
In 2021, along with her father, Infanta Cristina & her husband faced a severe legal inquiry for an embezzlement scheme, syphoning money from the Spanish throne.
Current news: In the early months of this year, her husband, Iñaki Urdangarin, was found guilty of fraud and Infanta Cristina was acquitted.
King Felipe VI of Spain
(Image by The New Royalty World, Facebook.com)
Spain’s kings have always been regarded as strong and courageous leaders and King Felipe is highly regarded as such. The prince ascended the throne in 2014 after his father, Juan Carlos abdicated. Many supporters of the Spanish monarchy sanction his reign as they believe he will bring newfound prosperity to Spain’s royal family.
Here are a few things you didn’t know about Spain current king:
- Queen Letizia is not the Official Queen of Spain.
- The king is the youngest reigning monarch in Europe next to Queen Elizabeth. Funnily, he is also the oldest monarch to attain the throne of Spain.
- The king is the youngest reigning monarch in Europe next to Queen Elizabeth.
- At 43, he was the oldest recorded monarch in Europe to ascend a throne.
- His legal title is officially His Majesty the King of Spain.
- He has a master’s in Law from the University of Madrid.
Widely considered Spain’s first proper ‘modern’ monarch, Filipe’s reign symbolises the monarchy’s return to glory and public faith in the wake of the recent corruption scandals.
(Image by queenletizia, Instagram.com)
Queen Letizia is one of the most famous Spanish royals. Before becoming Her Majesty Queen Letizia of Spain, Queen Letizia was an accomplished journalist and obtained her masters in broadcast journalism. She later became a news anchor for the flagship show on CNN+.
Queen Letizia and King Felipé initially met at a dinner party. A year later, the couple began dating after meeting again at the Prestige tanker oil spill in Galicia, which Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano was covering.
(Image by Mujerhoy, Facebook.com)
Initially, the royal couple chose to keep their relationship private (even from both of their parents) due to Queen Letizia being a divorcé before they met, which caused some controversy in the royal household.
Regardless of being born the granddaughter of a taxi driver and daughter of a nurse and a journalist, Queen Letizia is the first Spanish Queen Consort of Spanish descent since King Felipé’s great-grandfather’s rule.
Claim to Fame: During her career as a Journalist and news, Queen Letizia covered the war in Iraq and the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Check out or article on other well known spanish celebrities for more info.
Princess Leonor, of Asturias
(Image by Princess Leonor of Spain, Facebook.com)
Interestingly, Princess Leonor was born on Halloween in 2005.
While Princess Leonor is only 16 years old, she has already begun her royal duties as a presumptive heiress to the Spanish throne, which included an appearance to commemorate the 30th Anniversary of the Cervantes Institute in Madrid.
Also, the Princess will be the youngest heir to a European throne, but she is also set to be the first Spanish Queen since 1868.
(Image by Spanish royals, instagram.com)
At age 12, The Order of the Golden Fleece officially knighted Princess Leanor at age 12, making her the youngest of four other royal women to be inducted into the famous order – Queen Elizabeth, Princess Beatrix and Queen Margrethe.
Final thoughts on The Spanish Royalty in Contemporary Times
Descended from a long line of European royalty, The Spanish royal family still occupies a position of great power in today’s modern world. They are still a typical family, just the same as every other strong family in the world.
King Felipé and Queen Letizia are both relatable in some way, which is why they have Spanish people’s love and support.