Saturday, January 5, 2013

Royal Profile: King Juan Carlos I of Spain

The Infante Juan Carlos of Spain  was born 5 January 1938 in Rome, Italy the son of Juan de Borbon y Battenberg, Count of Barcelona & Maria de las Mercedes de Borbon y Orlean.

Upon the wishes of his father, he was educated in Spain after breifly being educated in Switzerland and Portugal. He completed his secondary education at San Isidro School before attending the Spanish Military Academies and colleges of the various Spanish Armed Forces. While there, he earned a rank of officer and military pilot. He also attended Complutense University, where he studied constitutional and international law, economics and taxation.

In May 1962, he married Princess Sofia of Greece, making her Infanta of Spain. After their honeymoon, they moved into the La Zarzuela Palace, which is still their residence today.


Together they have three children, a daughter-in-law, a son-in-law, 5 granddaughters and 4 grandsons who are:
  1. Infanta Elena, Duchess of Lugo (1963) 
    1. Don Felipe Juan de Marichalar y Borbón(1998) 
    2. Doña Victoria Federica de Marichalar y Borbón (2000) 
  2. Infanta Cristina, Duchess of Palma de Mallorca (1965)& her husband, Iñaki Urdangarín 
    1. Don Juan Valentín de Todos los Santos Urdangarín y de Borbón (1999) 
    2. Don Pablo Nicolás Sebastián de Todos los Santos Urdangarín y de Borbón (2000) 
    3. Don Miguel de Todos los Santos Urdangarín y Bórbon (2002) 
    4. Doña Irene de Todos los Santos Urdangarín y Bórbon (2005) 
  3. Prince Felipe of Austrias (1968), and his wife Princess Letizia
    1. Infanta Leonor (2005) 
    2. Infanta Sofia (2007) 


After the death of the Head of State, Francisco Franco, Juan Carlos was proclaimed King on 22 November 1975. In his first message to the nation in the Spanish Parliament, he expressed the basic ideas of his reign - to restore democracy and to become the King of all Spaniards, without exception. The transition to democracy, under the guidance of a new Government, began with the 1976 Law for Political Reform. In May 1977, the Count of Barcelona transferred to the King his dynastic rights and his position as Head of the Spanish Royal Household in a ceremony which confirmed the role of the Crown in the restoration of democracy. A month later, the first democratic elections since 1936 were held, and the new Parliament drew up the text of the current Spanish Constitution which was approved by referendum on 6 December 1978 and received the royal assent in a solemn session of the Parliament on 27 December of the same year.The Constitution establishes the political form of the State as a parliamentary monarchy in which the King is the arbiter and overseer of the proper working of the institutions. In his message to Parliament, King Juan Carlos expressly proclaimed his firm intention to abide by it and serve it. In fact it was the Monarch who saved the Constitution and democracy during the night of 23 February 1981 when the other Constitutional authorities had been held hostage in the Parliament building in an attempted coup. During his reign, the King has paid official visits to almost all the countries of the world as well as the main worldwide and regional international organisations.


The King is a keen sportsman, and is an avid supporter of Spanish sports teams and the Olympics.

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