SPANISH NOBLES are persons who possess the legal status of hereditary
nobility according to the laws and traditions of the Spanish monarchy.
A system of titles and honours of
Some noble titles and families still exist which have transmitted
that status since time immemorial . Some aristocratic families use the
nobiliary particle de before their family name. During the rule of
Despite accession to Spain's throne of Juan Carlos I in 1975, the court of nobles holding positions and offices attached to the royal household was not restored. Noble titleholders are subjected to taxation , whereas under Spain's ancien régime (until 1923) they were exempt . King Juan Carlos resumed conferral of titles to recognize those whose public service, artistic endeavour, personal achievement, philanthropy, etc. are deemed to have benefitted the Spanish nation.
* 1 Classification of Spanish nobles * 2 Form of address
* 3 Ranks
* 3.1 Princes * 3.2 Duke/Duchess (Duque/Duquesa) * 3.3 Marquis/Marchioness (Marqués/Marquesa) * 3.4 Count/Countess (Conde/Condesa) * 3.5 Viscount/Viscountess (Vizconde/Vizcondesa) * 3.6 Baron/Baroness (Barón/Baronesa) * 3.7 Lord/Lady (Señor/Señora) (Don/Doña) * 3.8 Other titles * 3.9 Lower nobility
* 4 Succession * 5 Titles created during the reign of King Juan Carlos I * 6 Gallery * 7 See also * 8 Notes * 9 References
CLASSIFICATION OF SPANISH NOBLES
The crown of the Spanish monarch
The crown of the Princess of Asturias (crown princess)
The coronet of an infante (prince)
TITLES OF NOBILITY
A coronet of a grandee
A Spanish coronet of a duke
A Spanish coronet of a marquess
A Spanish coronet of a count
A Spanish coronet of a viscount
A Spanish coronet of a baron
A Spanish coronet of a señor (lord)
Spanish nobles are classified as either grandees , as titled nobles, or as untitled nobles.
In the past, grandees were divided into first, second, and third classes, but this division has ceased to be relevant in practice while remaining a titular distinction; legally all grandees enjoy the same privileges in modern times. At one time however, each class held special privileges such as:
* those who spoke to the king and received his reply with their heads covered. * those who addressed the king uncovered, but put on their hats to hear his answer. * those who awaited the permission of the king before covering themselves.
Additionally, all grandees were addressed by the king as mi Primo (my Cousin), whereas ordinary nobles were only qualified as mi Pariente (my Kinsman).
An individual may hold a grandeeship, whether in possession of a title of nobility or not. Normally, however, each grandeeship is attached to a title. A grandeeship is always attached to the grant of a ducal title. The grant of a grandeeship with any other rank of nobility has always been at the will of the sovereign. Excepting dukes and some very ancient titles of marquises and counts , most Spanish titles of nobility are not attached to grandeeships.
A grandee of any rank outranks a non-grandee, even if that non-grandee's title is of a higher degree, with the exception of official members of the Spanish Royal Family who may in fact hold no title at all. Thus, a baron -grandee enjoys higher precedence than a marquis who is not a grandee.
Since 1987, the children of Spanish infantes , traditionally considered part of the royal family, have been entitled to the rank and style of a grandee but do not hold the legal dignity of grandee unless a grandeza is officially conferred by the sovereign; once the dignity has been officially bestowed, it becomes hereditary.
Some notable titles, which are attached to grandeeships, are:
FORM OF ADDRESS
Dukes and other individuals who are grandees are entitled to the honorific style of The Most Excellent Lord/Lady or His/Her Excellency.
Titled nobles (without a grandeeship) who are of the rank of marquis or count use the style of The Most Illustrious Lord/Lady. Those who hold a title with the rank of viscount , baron or Señor use his lordship/ her ladyship.
Nobility descends from the first man of a family who was raised to the nobility (or recognized as belonging to the hereditary nobility) to all his legitimate descendants, male and female, in the male line . Thus, most persons who are legally noble, hold no noble title. Hereditary titles formerly descended by male-preference primogeniture , a woman being eligible to inherit only if she had no brother or if her brothers also inherited titles. However, by Spanish law, all hereditary titles descend by absolute primogeniture, gender no longer being a criterion for preference in inheritance, since 2005.
The often overlooked title of 'prince' (príncipe/princesa) has historically been borne by those who have been granted or have inherited that title. It is often not included in lists of the Spanish nobility because it is rare. Prince/Princess are English translations of Infante/Infanta, referring to the son or daughter of a king; such titles are reserved for members of the royal family (the heir to the throne or the consort of the Queen regnant). Historically, infante or infanta could refer to offspring, siblings, uncles and aunts of a king. The heir's princely titles derive from the ancient kingdoms which united to form Spain.
Three titles of prince are held by the heir to the Spanish throne.
Prince of Asturias
Other titles of 'prince' were frequently granted by the kings of
Spain, but usually in their capacity as kings of Naples or of Sicily.
Such nobles often sojourned at the Spanish court where their titles
were acknowledged, but rarely were Spanish nobles the recipients of a
title of prince in Spain. The most notable exception was the title
"Prince of the Peace" conferred in 1795 on
Although legislation of the twentieth century ended official recognition of the title of prince outside the royal family, it did allow the holder of a princedom to have the dignity converted to a ducal title of the same name.
All dukedoms are attached to a grandeeship . A partial list includes:
* County of Aguilar de Inestrillas
County of Barcelona
* Viscountcy of la Alborada * Viscountcy of Altamira * Viscountcy of Banderas * Viscountcy of Cabrera * Viscountcy of la Calzada * Viscountcy of Quintanilla de Florez
Baronies did not exist in the Kingdom of Castile nor the Kingdom of
Navarre, and the subsequent kings of
LORD/LADY (SEñOR/SEñORA) (DON/DOñA)
The title of Señor is, together with that of Conde, the oldest in seniority of the Spanish realms. Many of these lordships are among the oldest titles of nobility in Spain, and the Señor usually exercised military and administrative powers over the lordship. Although some lordships were created by the kings of Spain, others existed before them and have not been created by any known king. For example, the Señor of Biscay held a great degree of independence from the king of Castile, to whom he could pledge or not pledge feudal allegiance , but of whom he was not automatically a vassal : each new lord of Biscay had to renew his oath to the king. Ultimately however, the kings of Castile inherited the lordship.
Besides those held by the King, in
* INFANTE : currently borne by royal princes, other than the heir
apparent to the throne, who are sons of a Spanish king.
* RICOHOMBRE (fem. Ricahembra): used during the
* CABALLERO: equivalent to knight , it was very rare in the kingdom of Castile, but common in the kingdom of Aragon, where there were four types of caballeros:
* Golden-spur caballero: borne by those infanzones (descendants of one of the cadet branches of the kings of Aragon which did not inherit the throne) who had been knighted. They were the highest ranking knights. * Royal-privilege caballero: a personal, non-hereditary title granted by the king to doctors of the law. It was rarely used by its holders, since the doctoral status enjoyed more privileges. * Caballero Mesnadero: borne by the cadet sons of a Ricohombre. It fell into desuetude during the 18th century, when the Bourbon kings purged the ranks of the nobility. * Caballero franco: borne by those of hijosdalgo or infanzone status, but who were commoner-born.
* POTESTAD: borne only in the kingdom of Aragon, the equivalent of the Italian podestà , an administrative title. It disappeared with the Nueva Planta decrees in 1713.
Lower nobility held ranks, without individual titles, such as
infanzon (in Aragon, e.g. Latas Family ), hidalgo or escudero . These
did not, however, correspond to the status of a baron , a title
Hidalgo was the most common of these: Originally all the nobles in the Western Peninsular Christian Realms were hidalgos and, as cristianos viejos, held nearly exclusive right to privileged status (although there were some Jews and Muslims recognized as hidalgos, who shared their privilege to bear arms as knights in the mesnada real ). The first of the kings of Pamplona and Asturias were originally elected and lifted up on a shield to assume Princeps inter Pares status, by these otherwise untitled nobles. For approximately three hundred years the hidalgos retained this privilege, only a few of them eventually being granted the non-heritable title of Comes#Medieval usages . Unlike Spain's later titled nobles, the early hidalgo did not necessarily possess or receive any fief or land grant . Many were as poor as commoners, although they were tax-exempt and could join the civil service or the army.
The term Hidalgo de Sangre indicated membership in a family whose noble status was recognized in the earliest records of its existence; thus its immemorial nobility was acknowledged but not created by any monarch.
The evidence supporting one's claim to a title may be reviewed by the Deputation of Grandees and Titled Nobles of the Kingdom (Diputación de Grandes y Títulos del Reino). The body includes eight grandees, eight nobles who are not grandees, and a president who must hold both a grandeeship and a hereditary title unattached to a grandeeship.
Succession to Spanish noble titles is hereditary, but not automatic. The original letters patent which created the title determine the order of succession . Payment of substantial fees is required whenever a title is inherited.
While noble titles historically have followed the rule of male-preference primogeniture, a Spanish law came into effect on October 30, 2006, after approval by both houses of the Cortes , establishing the inheritance of hereditary noble titles by the firstborn regardless of gender. The law is retroactive to July 27, 2005.
Following the death of a noble, the senior heir may petition the sovereign through the Spanish Ministry of Justice for permission to use the title. If the senior heir does not make a petition within two years, then other potential heirs may do so on their own behalf. There is a limit of forty years from the vacancy by death or relinquishment of a title within which that title may be claimed and revived by an heir.
The petitioner must demonstrate that he or she is a child, grandchild or direct male line descendant of a noble (whether a grandee or not), or that he or she belongs to certain bodies or orders of chivalry deemed noble, or that the father's family is recognized as noble (if succeeding to a grandeeship, the mother's family also). The amount of fees due depend on whether the title is attached to a grandeeship or not, and on whether the heir is a direct descendant or a collateral kinsman of the previous holder. The petition is normally granted, except if the petitioner is a criminal.
Titles may also be ceded to heirs other than the senior heir, during the lifetime of the main titleholder. Normally, this process is used to allow younger children to succeed to lesser titles, while the highest or principal title goes to the senior heir. Only subsidiary titles may be ceded; the principal title must be reserved for the senior heir. The cession of titles may only be done with the approval of the monarch.
The late Cayetana Fitz-James Stuart, 18th Duchess of Alba (d. 20 November 2014) holds the Guinness Book of Records for number of titles with over 50 titles. Before her death, the Duchess ceded some of her titles to each of her six children; otherwise, all but the eldest would have been excluded from succession.
TITLES CREATED DURING THE REIGN OF KING JUAN CARLOS I
Since the beginning of his reign in 1975, King Juan Carlos has created new titles for about 51 people (as of April 2011), among others recognizing the merits of politicians and artists. Some of these dignities have been hereditary. Examples include:
Camilo José Cela , author and
King Juan Carlos also exceptionally confirmed the title of
Álvaro de Luna,
Diego Hurtado de Mendoza, 1st
Pope Alexander VI
Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba,
Fernando Álvarez de Toledo, 3rd
Gabriel de la Cueva, 5th
Luis de Velasco, marqués de Salinas (1534–1617) *
García Hurtado de Mendoza, 5th
Alonso Pérez de Guzmán, 7th
Juan Alonso Pimentel de Herrera, 5th
Francisco Gómez de Sandoval, 1st
Ambrogio Spinola, 1st
Álvaro de Bazán, 2nd
Pedro Téllez-Girón, 3rd
Gaspar de Guzmán, Count-
Diego López Pacheco, 7th
Luis de Benavides Carrillo,
Francisco de Moura, 3rd
Cardinal Luis Manuel Fernández de Portocarrero (1635–1709) *
Íñigo Melchor de Velasco, 7th
Juan Tomas Enriquez de Cabrera, 7th
Gregorio María de Silva y Mendoza, 9th
Luis Francisco de la Cerda, 9th
Pedro Pablo Abarca de Bolea, 10th
José Moñino, 1st
María Josefa Pimentel, Duchess of Osuna (1752–1834) *
Don Pedro de Alcántara Álvarez de Toledo, 13th
José Miguel de Carvajal-Vargas, 2nd
Ángel de Saavedra, 3rd
Diego del Alcázar, 10th
* ^ "The Agony of Spanish Liberalism: From Revolution to Dictatorship 1913–23". Francisco J. Romero Romero Salvadó,A. Smith. Retrieved 24 November 2016. ISBN 978-1-349-36383-4 . * ^ Antonio Luque García (2005). Grandezas de España y títulos nobiliarios (in Spanish). Ministerio de Justicia. p. 258. ISBN 978-84-7787-825-4 . Retrieved 9 April 2017. * ^ "Ley 33/2006, de 30 de octubre, sobre igualdad del hombre y la mujer en el orden de sucesión de los títulos nobiliarios" (in Spanish). Boletin Oficial del Estado. Retrieved 10 January 2016. * ^ “Nobiliario Español” : Titles and Grandeeships conferred by Juan Carlos I., with actual holders.
* Atienza, Julio de. Nobiliario Español: Diccionario Heráldico de
Apellidos Españoles y de Títulos Nobiliarios. Madrid: Aguilar, 1948.
* Figueroa y Melgar, Alfonso de. Estudio Histórico Sobre Algunas
Familias Españolas. 6v. in 12 parts. Madrid: Editions Dawson & Fry,
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