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Infante Juan, Count of Barcelona

Spanish count
The basics
About
AKA Infante Juan Of Barcelona
Date of birth Segovia, Segovia Province, Castile and León, Spain
Date of death Apr 01, 1993 Pamplona, Cuenca de Pamplona, Navarre, Spain
Family
Spouse: Princess María de las Mercedes of Bourbon-Two Sicilies
Children: Infanta Pilar Duchess of Badajoz Juan Carlos I Infanta Margarita Duchess of Soria Infante Alfonso of Spain
Mother: Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg
Brother(s): Infante Gonzalo of Spain Alfonso Prince of Asturias Infante Jaime Duke of Segovia
Father: Alfonso XIII of Spain
Awards Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece
Authority VIAF id
The details
Biography

Infante Juan of Spain, Count of Barcelona (Don Juan Carlos Teresa Silverio Alfonso de Borbón y Battenberg; 20 June 1913 – 1 April 1993), was the third son and designated heir of King Alfonso XIII of Spain and Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg. His father was replaced by the Second Spanish Republic, and under his son, Juan Carlos I, a constitutional monarchy was restored.

Early life

Juan was born at the Palace of San Ildefonso. His father was forced into exile when the Second Spanish Republic was proclaimed on 14 April 1931. Owing to the renunciations of his brothers Alfonso of Spain, Prince of Asturias, and Infante Jaime, Duke of Segovia, Infante Juan was thus next in line to the defunct Spanish throne. He thus received the title Prince of Asturias when he was serving with the (British) Royal Navy in Bombay.

In March 1935, he passed his naval exams in gunnery and navigation, which would have entitled him to become a lieutenant in the Royal Navy if he gave up his Spanish nationality. This, however, he refused to do.

Marriage

He met his future wife at a party hosted by Victor Emmanuel III of Italy on the day before his sister (Infanta Beatriz) was to be married. He married Princess María Mercedes of Bourbon-Two Sicilies (1910–2000), known in Spain as Doña María de las Mercedes de Borbón Dos-Sicilias y Orleans, in Rome on 12 October 1935.

Just before the birth of the Infante Juan Carlos, the Count of Barcelona decided to go hunting, with the doctor telling him and his wife that the future king would not be born for weeks. When he was told of the birth, he drove to the hospital so quickly that he broke an axle spring.

Issue

They had four children, ten grandchildren and seventeen great-grandchildren:

  • Infanta Pilar, Duchess of Badajoz (born 30 July 1936) she married Luis Gomez-Acebo y de Estrada, Vizconde de la Torre on 6 May 1967. They have five children and nine grandchildren.
  • Juan Carlos I of Spain (born 5 January 1938) he married Princess Sophia of Greece and Denmark on 14 May 1962. They have three children and eight grandchildren.
  • Infanta Margarita, Duchess of Soria (born 6 March 1939) she married Don Carlos Zurita y Delgado on 12 October 1972. They have two children.
  • Infante Alfonso of Spain (3 October 1941 – 29 March 1956)

They lived in Cannes and Rome, and, with the outbreak of World War II, they moved to Lausanne to live with his mother, Queen Victoria Eugenie. Afterwards, they resided at Estoril, in Portugal.

Claim to the Spanish throne

Don Juan became heir-apparent to the defunct Spanish throne after the renunciations of his two older brothers, Alfonso and Jaime, both in 1933. To assert his claim to the throne, after his father's death he used the title of Count of Barcelona, a sovereign title associated with the Spanish crown.

In 1936, his father sent him to enter Spain and participate in the uprising but, near the French border, General Mola arrested him and sent him back.

When General Francisco Franco declared Spain a monarchy in 1947, he characterised it as a restoration. However, Franco was afraid that Don Juan would turn out to be too liberal and roll back the Falangist state. As a result, in 1969, Franco passed over Don Juan, who would have been king if the monarchy had continued uninterrupted, in favour of his son Juan Carlos, who Franco believed would be more likely to continue the Francoist State after his death. Don Juan Carlos later surprised many by his support of democratising Spain. Franco and Don Juan did not have a good relationship, with the Count constantly pressing Franco to restore the monarchy. Relations soured further when Juan called Franco an "illegitimate usurper", while Franco claimed he had a stronger claim to rule Spain than did Don Juan.

Don Juan formally renounced his rights to the Crown eight years after being displaced as recognised heir to the throne by Franco, and two years after his son Don Juan Carlos had become king. In return, his son officially granted him the title of Count of Barcelona, which he had claimed for so long.

He was buried with honours due a King, in the Royal Crypt of the monastery of San Lorenzo del Escorial, near Madrid. His wife survived him by seven years.

He was fond of the sea, and joined the Naval School at San Fernando, Cádiz, and had tattoos of a marine theme from his time in the British Royal Navy.

Titles, styles, honours, awards and arms

Titles

  • 20 June 1913 – 21 June 1933: His Royal Highness Infante Juan of Spain
  • 21 June 1933 – 15 January 1941: His Royal Highness The Prince of Asturias
  • 15 January 1941 – 1 April 1993: His Royal Highness The Count of Barcelona

Honours

National honours

  • Spain: Former 19th Sovereign and 1, 165th Knight with Collar of the Royal Order of the Golden Fleece
  • Spain: Former Sovereign Knight Grand Cross with Collar of the Order of Charles III
  • Spain: Former Sovereign Knight Grand Cross with Collar of the Order of Isabella the Catholic
  • Spain: Former Sovereign of the Order of Queen Maria Luisa
  • Spain: Former Sovereign Knight Grand Cross with Collar of the Order of Civil Merit
  • Spain: Former Sovereign Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Alfonso X
  • Spain: Former Sovereign Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Saint Raymond of Peñafort
  • Spain: Former Sovereign Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Military Order of Saint Ferdinand
  • Spain: Former Sovereign Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Military Merit, Special Class
  • Spain: Former Sovereign Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Naval Merit, Special Class
  • Spain: Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Aeronautical Merit, Special Class
  • Spain: Former Sovereign Knight Grand Cross with Collar of the Royal Military Order of Saint Hermenegild
  • Spain: Former Sovereign Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Military Order of Calatrava
  • Spain: Former Sovereign Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Military Order of Santiago
  • Spain: Former Sovereign Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Military Order of Alcántara
  • Spain: Former Sovereign Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Military Order of Order of Montesa
  • Spain: Former Sovereign Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Royal Military

Foreign honours

  • Kingdom of Greece Greek Royal Family: Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Order of the Redeemer
  • Kingdom of Greece Greek Royal Family: Knight Grand Cross with Collar of the Royal Order of Saints George and Constantine
  • Kingdom of Italy Italian Royal Family: Knight Grand Collar of the Royal Supreme Order of the Most Holy Annunciation
  • Kingdom of Italy Italian Royal Family: Knight Grand Cordon of the Royal Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus
  • Kingdom of Italy Italian Royal Family: Knight Grand Cordon of the Royal Order of the Crown
    • Kingdom of the Two Sicilies House of Bourbon-Two Sicilies: Bailiff Knight Grand Cross with Collar of Justice of the Two Sicilian Royal Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George
    • Sovereign Military Order of Malta Sovereign Military Order of Malta: Bailiff Knight Grand Cross of Justice of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, Special Class
  • Kingdom of Portugal Portuguese Royal Family: Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Order of the Immaculate Conception of Vila Viçosa
  • United Kingdom: Honorary Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victoria Order
  • United Kingdom: Recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal

Awards

  • Spain
    • Castilla-La Mancha: Honorary degree of the University of Castilla-La Mancha

Arms

Ancestors

The contents of this page are sourced from a Wikipedia article. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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