Royal Household of Spain

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The insignia of the royal household

The Royal Household of Spain, officially Casa de Su Majestad el Rey de España (Household of His Majesty the King of Spain), is the constitutional organization which supports the monarch in the exercise of his royal duties and prerogatives.

The Royal Household does not form part of the Spanish Government, and remains exclusively under the direction of the monarch. However, the Royal Household coordinates with the Spanish Government and the Patrimonio Nacional in the planning of official state occasions and ceremonies. The Royal Household is funded through yearly state budgets and subject to the approval of the Cortes Generales.


The current Royal Household has its historical precedent in the Royal Household and Heritage of the Crown of Spain which was made defunct by the establishment of the Second Spanish Republic in 1931. Following the eventual restoration of the monarchy and Juan Carlos I's accession to the throne as king in 1975, a new Royal Household was established.[1] This new household was completely different from the former Court of his grandfather Alfonso XIII; The modern Royal Household is much simpler than the precedent institution and it was decided not to recreate the majority of offices which existed in the old Royal Household, maintaining basically the Head of the Royal Household and the Secretary General of the Royal Household. Both these offices are held by professional, senior civil servants, even if they come from the nobility.

Annual budget[edit]

According to article 65(1) of the 1978 constitution (and subsequent organic acts), the monarch is entitled to compensation from the annual state budget for the maintenance of his family and household administration, and freely distributes funds in accordance with the laws.

The annual budget pays the remunerations for senior management staff, management staff and career civil servants, other minor staffing positions, and for general office expenses. The Head of Household, Secretary General, and other management staff salaries must be comparable to other administration ministers within the government, though in no way do they form part of the government or administration. As such, the management staff experience increases, decreases, or freezes to their pay in accordance with the fluctuations of government minister salaries.

Additionally, the annual budget pays for the maintenance and expenses of senior members of the royal family who undertake royal duties; which includes grocery, clothing, and toiletries allotments.

The budget approved by the Cortes for 2009 was just under 9 million euros. Not included in the annual budget is the maintenance and upkeep of royal residences, which is owned by the state and held in the national trust, and administered by Patrimonio Nacional on behalf of the government. Maintenance and upkeep includes groundskeeping, domestic staffing and catering and is paid by Patrimonio Nacional. This amount doesn't include King's yacht Fortuna (maintained by Patrimonio Nacional)[2] nor other expenses such as transportation which are paid by the army. The Royal Household's budget has been criticized and accused of opacity,[3][4] because the actual total budget and the real expenses of the King and the Royal Family are not made public.[5]

All the King's expenses when traveling abroad on an official mission are paid with the budget of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.[3]

Organizational structure[edit]

The structure of the household is currently defined by Royal Decree 434/1988 and subsequent amendments. The household comprises the Head of the Household, the General Secretariat and the Military Chamber.

According to article 65(2) of the 1978 constitution, "The King freely appoints and dismisses the civilian and military members of his household."

Head of the Household[edit]

The Head of the Household is responsible for operation of the services. In the field of economic, financial, budgetary and accounting management, a Controller, with managerial rank, is assigned to the Head of H.M. The King's Household.

The Heads of the Household have successively been:

General Secretariat[edit]

The Secretary General is the Deputy Head of H.M. The King's Household and responsible for the co-ordination of all its services. He also replaces the Head of the Household in the case of absence or illness. The General Secretariat is divided into units, whose heads form the Household's management team.

The Planning & Co-ordination Cabinet is the support unit for both the Head of the Household and the Secretary General, with assistance and immediate collaboration tasks in the fulfillment of the duties assigned to them. The Bureau and Activities and Programmes form part of this Cabinet.

The Office of H.M. The Queen's Secretary carries out the study, preparation and implementation of all matters related to H.M. The Queen's activities, as well as those of Their Royal Highnesses The Infantas.

Formerly there was the Office of H.R.H. The Prince of Asturias' Secretary before Felipe VI's accession to the throne in 2014. This was responsible for carrying out the study, preparation and implementation of all matters related to the activities of Felipe and his wife. Following Juan Carlos I's abdication. An office for him was created.

The Security Service is responsible for the Royal Family’s immediate security. It has a Commander and is composed of members of the State Security Forces, assigned by the Ministry of the Interior.

Communications maintains contact with professionals from the media, informing them of the official activities of the Royal Family, as well as their contents and organisation.

Protocol prepares and manages all aspects pertaining to protocol of the Royal Family’s different activities, both in Spain and abroad.

Administration, Infrastructure and Services manages the financial and budgetary side, as well as matters pertaining to the Household's staff. It manages and organises telecommunication and information services. It co-ordinates general maintenance of the installations of La Zarzuela Palace. The Quartermaster's Office and the Communications and Information Centre form part of this unit.

The General Secretariat's staff aggregates 137 civil servants, apart from those assigned to the Security Service by the Ministry of the Interior.

The Secretaries General have successively been:

Military Chamber[edit]

The Military Chamber Commander represents, at His Majesty The King’s immediate service, the Military Establishment within His Majesty’s Household.

The Military Chamber prepares the military activities of the Royal Family's members and maintains the relations of a military nature with the authorities of the Ministry of Defence.

The Lieutenant-General or General on active duty is the Commander of the Military Chamber in command of the Royal Guard. The Commander of the Military Chamber counts, for immediate support and collaboration, on a Cabinet, on an advisor belonging to the Military Legal Corps and on a Military Auditor. The Cabinet is divided into four Sections covering staff, protocol, operations and logistics, respectively.

The Aides-de-Champ to His Majesty The King, organised in successive 24-hour duty periods, assist His Majesty, in a permanent fashion and when carrying out his official duties, as well as H.M. The Queen. They also form part of the Retinue of Honour of foreign Heads of State on official visit to Spain. Formerly the Royal Decree prescribed that four belong to the Army, two to the Navy, two to the Air Force and one to the Civil Guard. This was amended in 2015 to remove any set number.

Felipe VI as Prince of Asturias had his own Aides-de-Camp who assisted him, in a permanent fashion and when carrying out his official activities, as well as his wife. One belonged to the Army, another one to the Navy and the last one to the Air Force. Leonor, Princess of Asturias is entitled, in future, to her own aides-de-camp.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Decreto 2942/1975, de 25 de noviembre, por el que se crea la Casa de Su Majestad el Rey. BOE núm. 284, de 26 de noviembre de 1975, p. 24667.
  2. ^ "El yate del Rey sale más caro". El Siglo. Retrieved 17 August 2009.
  3. ^ a b Soledad Gallego-Díaz (2007-12-30). "Cuentas demasiado opacas". El País. Retrieved 17 August 2009.
  4. ^ Joaquim Pisa (2007-12-30). "¿Cuánto nos cuesta la Monarquía española?". La República. Retrieved 30 August 2009.
  5. ^ Soledad Gallego-Díaz (2007-12-30). "Cuentas demasiado opacas". El País. Retrieved 17 August 2009.

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