Inside Queen Letizia home: Spanish royals don’t live in Madrid’s Royal Palace
Queen Letizia of Spain marries King Felipe VI in 2004
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Letizia Ortiz, as she was known at the time, wed Prince Felipe in the Almudena Cathedral at the Royal Palace of Madrid in May 2004. However, since joining the Spanish royal family, Letizia has lived mostly in the Zarzuela Palace, which is not part of the Royal Palace in Madrid’s centre.
Royal residencies in Europe rank amongst some of the most stately and luxurious buildings in the world, and are often left uninhabited as most royal families have a collection of properties.
Queen Letizia and her King Felipe are one of the many royal families who live outside of their official royal residence.
This is the Royal Palace of Madrid, which can be visited by tourists.
For the royal family, this residence is reserved exclusively for state ceremonies as they have opted to spend their time at the Zarzuela Palace.
This property is located outside of the Spanish capital and is much smaller than the Royal Palace.
The last Spanish king to live in Madrid’s central palace was King Alfonoso XIII, who left the throne in 1931 when the Second Republic was proclaimed and Manuel Azaña made the president of Spain.
The King’s defeat left the palace uninhabited, and the returning royals decided against living in the main palace after Francisco Franco’s death.
They instead chose Zarzuela Palace.
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But what is it like inside?
The Spanish royal family has both their offices and living quarters in the Zarzuela Palace.
It is home to Letizia and Felipe, but also to Felipe’s father, King Juan Carlos I and his wife Sofía.
Construction began on the Palace back in the 1600s, and the King at the time, Felipe IV, wanted it to be a country palace, instead of an official residence.
The architect, Juan Gómez de Mora, designed Zarzuela Palace in a baroque style.
A lot smaller than the Royal Palace, it is a beautiful two-storey rectangular building with a slate roof.
It also has arched galleries, an Italian garden, fountains, terraces, a vegetable garden, and a tree nursery.
Zarzuela Palace was updated in the 1800s, when King Charles IV was on the throne.
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It was modified to incorporate tapestries, porcelain, and clocks – because the King was reportedly obsessed with them.
After the Spanish Civil War, the property was torn down and rebuilt to its original structure.
The garden was also remade to what it would have looked in the 17th century.
The mansion has 11 bedrooms and nine bathrooms, as well as offices and meeting areas.
Not much of the Palace has been shared with the public over the years, but royal fans are able to have a glimpse inside the residence every year when King Felipe delivers his annual Christmas address from a large room covered in red décor.
The room features a red sofa with a burgundy carpet and large lamps.
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