About the blood bond between the British and Spanish royal families

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But there is one family that has particularly strong ties to the British royal family: the Spanish family. What is the relationship between the two? Although the answer is more complicated, everything can be summed up in one sentence: Elizabeth II, her husband the late Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, honorary Kings Juan Carlos I and Sofia of Greece are the great-grandchildren of Queen Victoria. England.

United throughout history

There are many links between Buckingham Palace and the Royal Spanish Palace of Zarzuela. One of these unites King Emeritus Juan Carlos I with Queen Elizabeth II of England. To find out the origin of their most recent relationship, one has to go back a century, i.e. to 1906. That year, Alfonso XIII, the apparent heir to Spain, married the granddaughter of Queen Victoria of England (the great-grandmother of her great-grandmother). Elizabeth II: Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg.

Through this marriage, the two royal houses are united forever. Alfonso and Victoria Eugenia are the paternal grandparents of King Juan Carlos I and the great-great-grandparents of the current King Philip VI. It is this kinship that united the kings of both countries for years. So much so that at a reception at the palace, King Juan Carlos I introduced Queen Elizabeth II as his “Aunt Lilibet,” an affectionate nickname by which her family and those close to her knew her.

Relationships through the Duke of Edinburgh

But there are also links between the British and Spanish royal families through Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, husband of Elizabeth II who died in 2021. The Duke’s mother, Alicia of Battenberg, was the niece of Victoria Eugenia of Battenberg (grandmother). King Juan Carlos I and grandmother of Philip VI).

And Queen Sofia, wife of King Emeritus Juan Carlos of Spain? She also has roots in the United Kingdom and is related to the Duke of Edinburgh through her grandfather, King Constantine. King Constantine was the brother and father of the Duke of Edinburgh.

State visits: a rapprochement between the two families

But it is not only royal kinship that unites the two families. For years they have maintained a close relationship through time and generations, through official state visits or private invitations.

Although many private visits have already been made, it was not until 1986 that King Juan Carlos I and King Sofia made their first official visit to the United Kingdom since the honorary ascended the throne. Honorary Kings were greeted at the airport by the Princes of Wales, Charles and Diana, and stayed at Windsor Castle. They also had time to meet Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and visit the British Parliament.

Queen Elizabeth II visited Spain only once. That was in October 1988. Despite her good relationship with the Spanish kings, the English Queen never set foot in Spain again, at least not officially.

Spanish kings set foot on British soil again during the first state visit of Felipe VI and Queen Letizia in the summer of 2017. It has been 31 years since the previous visit of a Spanish head of state to Great Britain.

Carlos and Diana’s honeymoon in Gibraltar

While the relationships between the British and Spanish royal families have always been healthy, there have also been ups and downs and points of conflict. The biggest event occurred in 1981, when Kings Juan Carlos I and Sofia decided not to attend the wedding of the heir to the crown, now renamed Carlos III, Mrs. Di. This decision came after they learned that the couple will start their honeymoon in Gibraltar. Grooms at the time justified that it was a “special trip,” but the Spanish kings eventually decided not to go to the wedding after all.

Carlos from England and Lady de V Marivent: Summer in Mallorca

Despite the fact that Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh did not revisit Spain (at least officially), it was Prince Charles and Lady Dee who actually visited Spain. This happened in 1986, 1987, 1988 and 1990. While staying with the Spanish royal family at the Marivent Palace in Palma, they enjoyed the summer of Mallorca, the beaches and the regatta with the Spanish kings.

But apparently they weren’t all good memories. In the sixth chapter of the documentary series Los Borbones: una familia real, Lady Di tells in her memoirs of this summer and her relationship with the Spanish king: “He was courting me, even in front of the Queen.”

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