Royal Household of Spain

The Royal Household of Spain, officially the Household of His Majesty the King, is the constitutional body whose primary function is to provide aid and support to the King of Spain in the exercise of his royal duties and prerogatives.[1] These include his role as Head of state[2]and as Supreme Commander of the Spanish Armed Forces.[3] It functions as the king's executive office.

Royal Household
Household of His Majesty the King
Distintivo Felipe VI de España (color THV).svg
Insignia of the Royal Household
RoleExecutive office of the king
Established16th century
CountryKingdom of Spain
Responsible toKing Felipe VI
Head of the HouseholdJaime Alfonsín Alfonso
Secretary-GeneralLt Gen. Domingo Martínez Palomo
Court Marshal and Aides-de-ChampGen. of Air Emilio Gracia Cirugeda
Constitution instrument1978 Constitution
(Current household)
Previous nameRoyal Household and Heritage of the Crown of Spain

The household is under the direct authority of the king, who personally selects the individuals he chooses to aid him in his constitutional duties. It is a constitutional institution, as laid down in Spain’s constitution of 1978. While the household is part of Spain’s governmental structure, it is not under the control or influence of any other state institution. The household ensures that the king has the independent means to perform all of his state functions. In particular, it is not under the administrative control of the Prime Minister or the Council of Ministers. The only authority to whom it answers is the king himself.

One of the household's primary functions is to facilitate communications between the king and the other state authorities. It is responsible for written and oral communications between the king and the government departments. It organizes and schedules meetings between the king, the Prime Minister, Ministers, Deputy Ministers, State Secretaries, Under Secretaries and other officials.

Its budget, like those of the Office of the Prime Minister, the Council of Ministers, the Supreme Court, the Armed Forces and many others, is approved by the houses of the Spanish Parliament on a yearly basis.


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.[4] 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.

Royal Household budgetEdit

According to article 65(1) of the 1978 constitution , the Head of State is entitled to compensation from the annual state budget for the maintenance of his family and household administration, and distributes these funds at his discretion.

This budget is used to pay the salaries of members of the royal family who perform duties on behalf of the Spanish state. It also pays for the salaries and benefits ( retirement, medical etc. ) of the staff who work directly for the Household of his Majesty the King. The budget approved for 2018 is €7,887,150. Less than 9% of this budget was assigned to the salaries of the royal family. For the 2018 budget the royal salaries were as follows:

His Majesty the King € 242,769.

Her Majesty the Queen € 133,530.

Her Majesty the Queen Emeritus € 109,260

Her Royal Highness the Princess of Asturias € 0

Her Royal Highness the Infanta Sofía € 0

The two princesses are currently in school and do not perform public functions and as such do not receive a salary. Once they come of age they will assume public duties and be granted a salary in order to accomplish those duties [5]

The 2019 budget assigned the following salaries to the top leadership of the royal household:[6]

Head of the Household €144,140

Secretary General of the Household €141,488

Head of the Military Household €114,017

Financial Comptroller €101,808

Diplomatic Counselor €134,701

Cabinet Chief €106,006

Secretary to Her Majesty the Queen €104,895

Chief of the Security Service €104,187

Director of communications €101,345

Chief of protocol €101,323

Chief of administration and infrastructure €105,897

Organizational structureEdit

According to article 65(2) of the 1978 constitution:

"The King freely appoints and dismisses the civilian and military members of his household."

In accordance with article 65(2), the authority to organize the royal household of his Majesty the King is vested in the Monarch. In the exercise of this authority the king chooses the officers and decides which departments form a part of the royal household. He also determines the functions and duties that they are responsible for carrying out. The sovereign exercises this authority in the form of a Royal Decree.

The current structure of the royal household is set down in Royal decree 434/1988 and subsequent amendments to it as ordered by the king.

Head of the HouseholdEdit

The Head of the Household is responsible for the over all operation and management of the departments of the Royal Household. He holds the rank and privileges ( pay, vacation ) of a member of the council of ministers. He is the king’s most senior personal political adviser and reports directly to him. The head of the household is the primary channel of communication between the king and the various departments of the state administration. He advises the monarch on all issues pertaining to constitutional, foreign, political and military affairs. His role is analogous to the private secretary of the British sovereign.

The Financial Comptroller of the household is in charge of the accounting department that prepares the annual budgets for the household’s departments.

The Diplomatic Advisor to the Royal Household closely monitors international relations and developments in foreign affairs. He advises the head of household and the king in these areas.

The Heads of the Household have successively been:

General SecretariatEdit

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.

The Security Service is responsible for the Royal Family’s immediate (bodyguards) security. It has a Commander and is composed of units of the State Security Forces, assigned from the Ministry of the Interior. It is also in charge of ensuring the royal family’s security during travel between secure locations, such as inspecting sewers for bombs and posting snipers on roofs.

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

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

The Administration, Infrastructure and Services section 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 consists of 139 civil servants, apart from those assigned to the Security Service by the Ministry of the Interior.[7]

The Secretaries General have successively been:

Military Household StaffEdit

The King’s Military Staff is primarily responsible for assisting him in the performance of his duties as the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Spanish Armed Forces. It also is responsible (along with the Security Service) for the maintenance of security at all Royal Palaces. The Royal Guard is part of the military household.

The military household is commanded by a General or Lt General who is appointed freely by the King. The King also appoints the Chief of the Royal Guard who holds the rank of Colonel. The military household is the main channel of communication between the king and the ministry of defense. It is in charge of preparing the king’s military schedule and for arranging meetings with military personnel at the ministry of defense. Royal decrees dealing with military matters are sent to the King via the military household.

The Chief of the Military Staff is in charge of:

  • The Military Cabinet.
  • The Military Law Advisor.
  • The Military Auditor.
  • The Royal Guard.

The Military Cabinet is divided into four Sections covering staff, protocol, operations and logistics.

The Aides-de-Champ to His Majesty The King are senior military officers, which are organised in successive 24-hour duty periods, who assist His Majesty when carrying out his official duties. Their duties include arranging the kings travel and keeping track of his paperwork and documentation. At least one ADC accompanies the king at all times. H.M. The Queen also has ADCs assigned as needed. The Heir to the throne will, on coming of age, also have ADCs. 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 the requirement for a set number.

Chiefs of Military Staff have successively been:

  • 1986–? — José Santos Peralba Giráldez
  • 2002–? — Antonio González-Aller
  • ?–2010 — Felipe Carlos Victoria de Ayala
  • 2010–2014 — Antonio de la Corte
  • 2014–2020 — Juan Ruiz Casas
  • 2020–present — Emilio Gracia Cirugeda

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "The Spanish Constitution" (PDF).
  2. ^ "The Spanish constitution, Article 56 paragraph one" (PDF). 1978.
  3. ^ "The Spanish constitution, article 62 H." (PDF).
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ "Inicio - Ejercicio 2018 - Presupuesto". Retrieved 2019-08-20.
  6. ^ "Inicio - Ejercicio 2019 - Retribuciones de Altos Cargos". Retrieved 2020-08-26.
  7. ^ "Inicio - Información institucional, Organizativa y de Planificación - Organigrama y Funciones". Retrieved 2020-08-28.

External linksEdit