Monarchy of Spain - The Crown, Constitution, and Royal Prerogatives - Styles, Titles, and The 'Fount of Honour'

Styles, Titles, and The 'Fount of Honour'

See also: List of titles and honours of the Spanish Crown, Spanish nobility, and List of military decorations#Spain

The 1978 constitution confirms the title of the monarch is King of Spain, but that he may also use other titles historically associated with the Crown. The titles used by Alfonso XIII before his exile in 1931 which, with this provision of the constitution, the king is entitled to use include:

His Catholic Majesty, the King of Spain, King of Castile, of León, of Aragon, of the Two Sicilies, of Jerusalem, of Navarre, of Granada, of Seville, of Toledo, of Valencia, of Galicia, of Sardinia, of Córdoba, of Corsica, of Murcia, of Jaén, of the Algarves, of Algeciras, of Gibraltar, of the Canary Islands, of the East and West Indies, of the Islands and Mainland of the Ocean Sea; Archduke of Austria; Duke of Burgundy, of Brabant, of Milan, of Athens and Neopatria; Count of Habsburg, of Flanders, of Tyrol, of Roussillon, and of Barcelona; Lord of Biscay and of Molina de Aragón; Captain General and Supreme Commander of the Royal Armed Forces; Sovereign Grand Master of the Order of the Golden Fleece and of the orders awarded by the Spanish state. —Title II The Crown, Article 56 (2), the Spanish Constitution of 1978.

According to the royal decree published in 1987, the king and the queen consort will formally be addressed as "His Majesty and Her Majesty" (Their Majesties, Spanish: Su Majestad, Su represents His or Her) rather than the traditional "Catholic Majesty" (Su Católica Majestad). A prince consort of a regnant Queen of Spain will have the style "His Royal Highness" (Su Alteza Real). Additionally, a widowed and unmarried queen consort, now a queen dowager, will continue to be addressed as "Her Majesty". A widowed and unmarried prince consort will continue to be addressed as "His Royal Highness". The heir from birth shall hold the title of Prince of Asturias and the other titles historically associated with the heir apparent. These additional titles include Prince of Viana, historically associated with the heir apparent to the Kingdom of Navarre; with the titles Prince of Girona and Duke of Montblanc historically associated with the heir apparent for the Crown of Aragon, among others. Other children of the monarch, and the children of the heir apparent, shall have the title and rank of Infante or Infanta (prince or princess), and styled His or Her Royal Highness (Su Alteza Real). Children of an Infante or Infanta of Spain "shall have the consideration of Spanish Grandees", and the address of "Your Excellency". The royal decree further limits the ability of any regent to use or create titles during the minority or incapacitation of a monarch. No further constitutional language prescribes titles or forms of address to the fourth generation, or great grandchildren, of a reigning monarch.

The monarch's position as the "Fount of honour" within Spain is codified in Article 62 (f); It is incumbent upon the monarch to " confer civil and military positions and award honors and distinctions in conformity of the law". According to the Spanish Ministry of Justice, nobility and grandee titles are created by the "sovereign grace of the king", and may be passed on to the recipient's heirs, who may not sell the title. Titles may revert back to the Crown when their vacancy is observed. Succession of titles may follow one of several courses listed on the Title of Concession when the title is created. As a general rule, most titles are now inherited by absolute Cognatic Primogeniture (as of 2006), in which the first born inherits all titles regardless of gender. However, a title holder may designate his successor, Succession by Assignment, or disperse his titles among his children – with the eldest getting the highest-ranking title, Succession by Distribution.

The king awarded peerages to two of his former prime ministers who have retired from active politics: Adolfo Suárez, who was created 1st Duke of Suárez; and Leopoldo Calvo-Sotelo who was created 1st Marquess of la Ría de Ribadeo. The king's third prime minister Felipe González declined a title, while José María Aznar's tenure was mired in controversies making a peerage unlikely. All successive politicians remain active within politics.

The king grants military and civil orders and awards of distinction, customarily on the advice of government. The most distinguished order the king may award is the Order of Charles III to "citizens who, with their effort, initiative and work, have brought a distinguished and extraordinary service to the Nation". The Laureate Cross of Saint Ferdinand is Spain's highest military award for gallantry. Other historic awards and distinctions include the Spanish Order of the Golden Fleece, the Order of Isabella the Catholic, the Order of Alfonso X, the Order of Marie Louise, the Order of Saint Raimundo de Penafort, the Order of Military Merit, the Order of Naval Merit, the Order of Aerial Merit, the Order of Civil Merit, the Order of Cultural Merit, the Order of Calatrava, the Order of the Knights of Santiago, the Order of Sant Jordi d'Alfama, and the Order of Alcántara, among others.

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