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Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Royal House of Bourbon

Country: Spain
Royal House Name: Bourbon
Current Head: King Juan Carlos (born: January 5, 1938)
Reigned: since November 1975
Consort: Queen Sofia
Successor: HRH Prince Felipe, the Prince of Asturias 

Since its unification in the middle of the 16th century, Spain is ruled by the Hapsburg monarchs who descended from Emperor Maximilian I. The Kingdoms of Aragon and Castile were united under the name Spain by the first Hapsburg King, Charles I, who would become Charles V of the Holy Roman Empire (son of Joanna the Mad). But when his grandson, Charles II, died without a direct successor, the throne passed to Prince Philip, grandson of a Bourbon King, Louis XIV of France, thus, the present throne of Spain bears the house name of Bourbon.

The Spanish throne heavily drew its history on different wars of succession. The Carlist Wars, the series of armed conflict in Spain, were considered as the last major European wars where pretenders to the throne pressed its claim. Ferdinand V’s brother, Infante Carlos, forced his sister-in-law, who sat as regent for her infant daughter Isabella II, to flee the country. 

The country endured political and economic turmoil for many decades, in 1931 during Spanish civil war, King Alfonso XIII, who was married to Queen Victoria of England’s granddaughter, Eugenie Mountbatten, was forced to leave the country with his family.

But one of his sons, Prince Juan, made effort to make peace with the dictator, Francisco Franco. He then brought his son, Juan Carlos, to Spain to receive a Spanish education and maintained a diplomatic relation with Franco’s government. 

Franco relented and agreed to return the country into constitutional monarchy, but Prince Juan declined the throne to give way for his only son, who became King Juan Carlos in November 22, 1975. The King  was credited for the smooth transition of government from dictatorship to constitutional monarchy.
King Juan Carlos, an Olympian in the sailing event, married to Princess Sofia of Greece, daughter of King Paul I of Greece, on May 14, 1962. The couple had three children: Infanta Elena, Infanta Cristina and the heir-apparent, Prince Felipe, the Prince of Asturias.

Royal Family of Spain

HM King Juan Carlos
HM Queen Sofia
  HRH Prince Felipe
  HRH Princess Letizia
       HRH Infanta Eleanor
       HRH Infanta Sofia
HRH Infanta Elena, the Duchess of Lugo
HRH Infanta Cristina, the Duchess of Palma de Mallorca
HRH Inaki Urdangarin, the Duke of Palma de Mallorca 

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