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Infante Juan, Count of Barcelona

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Title: Infante Juan, Count of Barcelona  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Infante Alfonso of Spain, Juan Carlos I of Spain, Alfonso XIII of Spain, Infante Carlos, Count of Montemolin, Juan, Count of Montizón
Collection: 1913 Births, 1993 Deaths, Burials in the Pantheon of Kings at El Escorial, Francoist Spain, Grand Crosses of Naval Merit, Grand Crosses of the Order of the Redeemer, Heirs Apparent Who Never Acceded, House of Bourbon (Spain), Knights Grand Cross of Justice of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George, Knights Grand Cross of the Order of the Immaculate Conception of Vila Viçosa, Knights of Santiago, Knights of the Golden Fleece, Knights of the Order of Alcántara, People from the Province of Segovia, Spanish Infantes
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Infante Juan, Count of Barcelona

Infante Juan of Spain
Infante of Spain; Count of Barcelona
Juan de Borbón in 1959.
Born (1913-06-20)20 June 1913
San Ildefonso, Spain
Died 1 April 1993(1993-04-01) (aged 79)
Pamplona, Spain
Burial El Escorial
Spouse Princess María Mercedes of Bourbon-Two Sicilies
Issue Infanta Pilar, Duchess of Badajoz
Juan Carlos I of Spain
Infanta Margarita, Duchess of Soria and Hernani
Infante Alfonso
Full name
Juan Carlos Teresa Silverio Alfonso de Borbón y Battenberg[1]
House House of Bourbon
Father Alfonso XIII of Spain
Mother Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg
Religion Roman Catholic
Royal styles of
Infante Juan of Spain,
Count of Barcelona
Reference style His Royal Highness
Spoken style Your Royal Highness
Alternative style Sir

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 surviving 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. As king of Spain, he would have been Juan III.


  • Early life and marriage 1
  • Claim to the Spanish throne 2
  • Heraldry 3
  • Ancestors 4
  • References 5

Early life and marriage

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.

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.

They had four children:

  1. Infanta Pilar, Duchess of Badajoz (María del Pilar Alfonsa Juana Victoria Luisa Ignacia y Todos los Santos [et omnes sancti]); born in 1936.
  2. Juan Carlos I, King of Spain (Juan Carlos Alfonso Víctor María de Borbón y Borbón-Dos Sicilias); born in 1938.
  3. Infanta Margarita, Duchess of Soria, 2nd Duchess of Hernani (Margarita María de la Victoria Esperanza Jacoba Felicidad Perpetua y Todos los Santos [et omnes sancti]; born in 1939.
  4. Infante Alfonso of Spain (Alfonso Cristino Teresa Ángelo Francisco de Asís y Todos los Santos) (1941–1956)

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 to be a kingdom in 1947, he characterised it as a reinstitution. 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 as Juan III[2] (John III of Spain), 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.

He was the 1165th Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece in Spain.




  1. ^ Boletín Oficial del Estado
  2. ^ Enumerated after Juan II, King of Castile.
  3. ^ a b García-Mechano y Osset, Eduardo (2010). Introducción a la heráldica y manual de heráldica militar española. Madrid: Ministerio de Defensa. ISBN 978-84-9781-559-8. PP.105-107
  4. ^ """Coat of arms of Juan de Bourbon after his renounce at the emblem of the Frigate "Juan de Borbón. Navy official coats of arms (in Spanish). Spanish Navy. Retrieved 18 March 2013. 
Infante Juan, Count of Barcelona
Born: 20 June 1913 Died: 1 April 1993
Spanish nobility
Preceded by
Alfonso XIII
Count of Barcelona
28 February 1941 – 1 April 1993
Succeeded by
Juan Carlos I
Titles in pretence
Preceded by
Alfonso XIII
King of Spain
28 February 1941 – 14 May 1977
Reason for succession failure:
Republic proclaimed in 1931
Succeeded by
Juan Carlos I
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