Royal Palace Of Madrid History

Madrid's Royal Palace: A Regal History

The Royal Palace Madrid is a testament to Spain's rich history and ongoing monarchy. The palace's tale is as fascinating as its architecture, steeped in wealth and majesty. The history of the Royal Palace of Madrid began when the original Alcazar Palace was destroyed by fire in 1738. After that, the palace's construction began in 1738 and took almost two centuries to complete.


However, the palace was more than just brick and cement, it was a labour of love from many architects, builders, and artists who dedicated their passion to this gigantic project. It has entertained monarchs and world leaders, witnessed ceremonies and events that impacted Spain's fate, and has stood resilient through difficult times.


The Royal Palace of Madrid's history is also personal, with stories of royal family life, mystery, and the weight of responsibility carried by rulers who formerly occupied its walls. For centuries, Spanish kings have been housed in the Royal Palace of Madrid, a grand architectural masterpiece. From the 18th-century King Philip V to the current Spanish royal dynasty, including King Felipe VI, the palace has served as the luxurious residence of kings, symbolising Spain's rich history and royal legacy. Today, the Royal Palace is a living chapter in the history of Spain, a site where the past whispers through its hallways and visitors feel a sense of a nation's glory.

A Timeline of Royal Palace of Madrid


  • In the 9th century, when the Moors occupied Spain in the Middle Ages, an old Moorish fortress was built on the land where the Royal Palace of Madrid stands today. 
  • At the end of the 15th century, this fortress became a seat of the Royal Court in Spain. 
  • In 1738, the history of the Royal Palace of Madrid took a pivotal turn when King Philip V ordered the construction of a new fortress. It was intended to replace the old fortress which burned down in 1734. 
  • Filippo Juvarra was appointed as the main architect who was inspired by French Baroque palaces. However, after his death before the commencement of the palace’s construction, Giambattista Sacchetti took over and added some neoclassical elements. 
  • Consisting of 3,418 rooms, this palace was finally built in 1764 after 18 years of astounding work by many engineers, architects and workers. 
  • It was the home of the Spanish royal family till the Spanish Civil War of 1931 as the royal family has not resided there since the abolition of the monarchy. 
  • In 1973, the Royal Palace of Madrid underwent small changes when a royal coat of arms and angels were added to the main building. 

Royal Palace of Madrid History Explained

Before 18th century

The Royal Palace of Madrid’s history began before the 18th century when Emir Mohamed I, the Umayyad Emir of Cordoba, constructed a palace in the 9th century. It was called the Olf Fortress and was used to serve as a defence for Toledo against the advancing Christians. This fortress was also used as a habitual residence to the Trastámara monarchs in the late Middle Ages. During the 15th century, this fortress became the seat of the Royal Court in Spain and a vital part of the city’s defence system.

18th century and after

At the beginning of the 18th century, the old fortress burned down. In 1738, King Philip V ordered a new palace to be constructed on the same site. Filippo Juvara was appointed as the main architect but died before construction began. He was succeeded by Giambattista Sacchetti and Francesco Sabatini who helped in completing the construction in 1764. Royal Palace of Madrid’s history also witnessed landmark events like the Spanish Civil War resulting in the royal family vacating the palace due to the end of monarchy. Currently, it is administered by the Spanish government.

Historical Attractions In Royal Palace Of Madrid

The Royal Palace of Madrid has several glorious attractions one must look out for. Take a stroll through the enchanting Sabatini Gardens and learn more about the history of Spain in the Royal Armory. Be sure to get dazzled by the crown jewels in the Crown Room and the Hall of Mirrors.



The Mesmerizing Sabatini Gardens

Situated at the northern side of the Royal Palace of Madrid, the Sabatini Gardens is one of the two gardens in the palace. The garden has been named after Francesco Sabatini, the architect who designed the first floor plan of the palace. The garden is vast and it extends to the Calle de Bailén and the Cuesta de San Vicente.

Plaza de la Armería

Located in the south of the palace building, the Plaza de la Armeria or the Armory Square is the main square in the palace. You will get to witness the Ceremony of Changing the Royal Guards at the Plaza de la Armeria if you visit the Royal Palace Madrid on the first Wednesday of the month.

Royal Armory

The Royal Armory of Madrid is known to be one of the best in the world. The Madrid Royal Palace contains treasured pieces of armoury from as early as the 15th century. The equipment used by Emperor Charles V in the Battle of Muhlberg and the riding gear of Carlos V and Felipe II can be found here among many other notable pieces. You will also find the signed armour by one of the greatest armourers, Filippo Negroli.

The Crown Room

The Crown Room in the palace used to be the Chamber of Queen Maria. The Crown, the Sceptre and noteworthy jewels are put on display here. Made out of chiselled, embossed and gilded silver, the Crown belonged to Carlos III. The sceptre, which has been made out of rock crystal, silver-plated filigree, enamels, and garnets set, dates back to the reign of Charles II.

Hall Of Mirrors

Made with pink marbles and a thin layer of white and blue ornamentation, the Hall of Mirrors is one of the most beautiful rooms in the Royal Palace Madrid. Originally it would be used by Queen Maria Luisa de Parma, the wife of Carlos IV, as a dressing table.

Hall Of Columns

The Halls of Columns in the Royal Palace of Madrid is the room where official balls and receptions used to take place. Signing of important treaties also used to be held in the Hall of Columns. The Treaty of Spain's accession to the European Community has been signed within the walls of this hall. You will also get to see some famous and mesmerising work of classical art here. The sculpture of Charles V of Germany and Charles I of Spain has been showcased here. The Belgian tapestries and the stunning vault in this hall are some of the major attractions.

Main Staircase

The Main Staircase of the Madrid Royal Palace grabs all the attention. There are 72 marble steps in the staircase and it has two levels. There is a grand sculpture of Carlos III at the central landing of the Main Staircase. It is a splendid work of architecture by Sabatini. The staircase is known to have been particularly admired by the great dictator and French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte.

Gasparini’s Hall

Gasparini’s Hall is one of the most impressively decorated rooms in the Royal Palace of Madrid. It used to be the chamber of Carlos III in his time. It has now been named after Matias Gasparini, the artist who bears the credits for designing this room. The marble floors and the silver thread of the tapestries in this hall are strikingly beautiful. The hall is now used by the King to welcome his royal guests for an aperitif or coffee in this room.

Royal Chapel

The Royal Chapel in the Marid Royal Palace is a room where the architectural project has never been finished. It consists of a grand altar and the ceiling contains the paintings of Sachetti and Ventura Rodriguez. The musical organ in the Royal Chapel is quite a unique one owing to its quality of sound. It has been made according to tradition by Ferdinand VI, for whom music was paramount.

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FAQs

When was the Royal Palace of Madrid built?

The Royal Palace of Madrid's history spans more than two centuries, beginning in 1738. This palace is a labour of love and craftsmanship that symbolises the hard work of numerous architects and builders who devoted their talent to this project. It is a symbol of Spain's long history and monarchy, with centuries of royal life and significant events taking place within its walls.

What is the best time to experience the Royal Palace of Madrid?

The Royal Palace of Madrid stays open on Monday to Saturday from 10 am to 7 pm and on Sunday and public holidays from 10 am to 4 pm. The gardens stay open every day from 10 am to 7 pm. The best time to visit the Royal Palace of Madrid is in the months of October to March. These are the off season months and so it is less crowded. However, the end of December should be avoided because it stays crowded due to the Christmas holidays.

How old is the Royal Palace Madrid?

The History of the Royal Palace of Madrid goes back to the years between 860 and 880 when it was first built by Muhammad I. The construction of the Royal Palace of Madrid started in 1738 and was completed in 1755.

How long do we need to spend in Royal Palace Madrid?

One to two hours would be enough time to spend in the Royal Palace Madrid.

Can we click pictures inside the Royal Palace of Madrid?

Clicking pictures in the interiors of the Royal Palace Madrid is not allowed. However, there are designated areas where one can click pictures. Make sure you do not click pictures in the areas where it is not permitted. You will be charged hefty fines if you do.

Who was the architect responsible for designing the Royal Palace of Madrid?

The Royal Palace of Madrid was primarily created by architect Juan Bautista Sachetti, with contributions from other prominent architects including Francesco Sabatini and Ventura Rodrguez. This combined work over the years resulted in the spectacular and timeless design of the palace. Their architectural talent and vision helped transform the Royal Palace into a symbol of Spain's rich history and cultural legacy.

Why was the Royal Palace of Madrid built?

The Royal Palace of Madrid was built to replace the ancient Alcazar Palace, which burned down in 1734. It was commissioned by King Philip V and functioned as a symbol of Bourbon authority, Spanish monarchy, and national prestige in the history of the Royal Palace of Madrid. It is still used for state occasions and as a cultural landmark today.

What is the story of the Royal Palace of Madrid?

The story of Madrid's Royal Palace is one of resilience and magnificence. It was built in 1738 to replace the Alcazar Palace, which had been destroyed by fire. It was commissioned by King Philip V as a symbol of Bourbon authority and Spanish monarchy, highlighting Spain's importance as a European power. The palace's rich history is still visible today since it holds state functions and is regarded as a cultural jewel of Spain.

Who are some of the notable monarchs who have resided in the Royal Palace of Madrid?

The Royal Palace of Madrid's history is filled with renowned rulers who have stayed within its lavish walls. Charles III, Charles IV, Ferdinand VII, Isabella II, and Alfonso XIII are among them. These rulers added to the palace's rich history and left their imprint on its splendour, making it a symbol of Spain's monarchy and cultural legacy.

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