The Spanish monarchy traces back its roots to Ferdinand II of Aragon, and Isabella I of the Kingdom of Castile. Isabella's marriage to Ferdinand unified the kingdoms of Aragon and Castile, leading to the birth of Spain. However, it did not come together under a single rule, until Charles I unified the two kingdoms.
The House of Habsburg
Charles I belonged to the House of Habsburg, which was also known as the House of Austria. This dynasty began with Charles I in the year 1516. It continued until Charles II named sixteen-year-old Philip V, grandson of his sister Maria Theresa of Spain, as his successor in his will.
The House of Bourbon
A war broke out over the will of Charles II. The outcome was the coronation of Phillip V as the King, starting the rule of the Bourbons over the Spanish Empire. The Bourbons ruled until the year 1808.
The next dynasty did not last long. The only king from the Bonaparte dynasty was Joseph, who ruled from 1808 to 1813. He abdicated, when the Bourbon dynasty was restored again.
The Savoy House
It came to power after Amadeo was elected as the King by the will of the nation. This was the result of the Spanish Revolution that took place in the year 1868.
Restoration of the House of Bourbon
The House of Bourbon again re-established itself to power in 1874, with the coronation of Alfonso XII, son of Isabella II. His son Alfonso XIII ruled from 1886 to 1931. The royal family did not rule from 1931 to 1975. The third restoration of the House of Bourbon began with the coronation of King Juan Carlos, grandson of Alfonso XIII.
The Royal Family of King Juan Carlos I
The present royal family belongs to the Bourbon House. It is a part of the Capetian dynasty. The name of the ruling King Juan Carlos I, is anglicized as His Majesty John Charles Alphonse Victor Mary of Bourbon and Bourbon-Two Sicilies.
King Carlos is the son of Infante Juan, the Count of Barcelona and Princess Maria Mercedes of Bourbon. He is the grandson of Alfonso XIII, which made him the direct and undisputed heir to the throne.
The Spanish dictator General Francisco Franco, in 1969, declared Juan Carlos as his successor and the next king. Now, Spain, once again, according to its centuries-old tradition had a king, after a gap of nearly 30 years.
General Franco, before his death, had passed the law of Succession. According to this law, the coronation ceremony of King Juan Carlos took place on November 27, 1975.
The biggest contribution of King Juan Carlos I is that, he oversaw the nation's transformation from a military dictatorship to a democracy. This made him extremely popular and well-respected among the people.
King Juan Carlos I is married to Queen Sofia, who was Princess Sofia of Greece and Denmark before marriage. She is the daughter of King Paul I of Greece, whose family was forced to flee form Greece during World War II.
Princess Elena is the oldest child of King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia. She is married to Jaime de Marichalar, the son of Count de Ripalda. She has two children, Felipe, born in 1998 and Victoria, born in 2000.
The second child of King Juan Carlos is Princess Cristina. She is married to Inaki Urdangarin y Liebaert. The youngest child of King Juan is Prince Felipe who is married to Princess Letizia Ortiz.
The Bourbon dynasty has been the longest ruling and the most powerful in the history of Spain. Though the concept of democracy has curtailed the powers of the kings; they continue to rule the hearts of the people just like their ancestors did.