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Infante (Spanish:  [iɱˈfante] , Portuguese:  [ĩˈfɐ̃t(ɨ)] ; f. infanta), also anglicised as Infant or translated as Prince, is the title and rank given in the Iberian kingdoms of Spain (including the predecessor kingdoms of Aragon, Castile, Navarre, and León) and Portugal to the sons and daughters (infantas) of the king, regardless of age, sometimes with the exception of the [male] heir apparent to the throne who usually bears a unique princely or ducal title. [1] The wife of a male infante was accorded the title of infanta if the marriage was dynastically approved (e.g., Princess Alicia of Bourbon-Parma), although since 1987 this is no longer automatically the case in Spain (e.g., Princess Anne d'Orléans). [1] Husbands of born infantas did not obtain the title of infante through marriage (unlike most hereditary titles of Spanish nobility), although occasionally elevated to that title de gracia ("by grace") at the sovereign's command. [1] [2]

In linguistics, grammatical gender is a specific form of noun class system in which the division of noun classes forms an agreement system with another aspect of the language, such as adjectives, articles, pronouns, or verbs. This system is used in approximately one quarter of the world's languages. In these languages, most or all nouns inherently carry one value of the grammatical category called gender; the values present in a given language are called the genders of that language. According to one definition: "Genders are classes of nouns reflected in the behaviour of associated words."

Crown of Aragon Composite monarchy which existed between 1162–1716

The Crown of Aragon was a composite monarchy, also nowadays referred to as a confederation of individual polities or kingdoms ruled by one king, with a personal and dynastic union of the Kingdom of Aragon and the County of Barcelona. At the height of its power in the 14th and 15th centuries, the Crown of Aragon was a thalassocracy controlling a large portion of present-day eastern Spain, parts of what is now southern France, and a Mediterranean "empire" which included the Balearic Islands, Sicily, Corsica, Sardinia, Malta, Southern Italy and parts of Greece. The component realms of the Crown were not united politically except at the level of the king, who ruled over each autonomous polity according to its own laws, raising funds under each tax structure, dealing separately with each Corts or Cortes. Put in contemporary terms, it has sometimes been considered that the different lands of the Crown of Aragon functioned more as a confederation than as a single kingdom. In this sense, the larger Crown of Aragon must not be confused with one of its constituent parts, the Kingdom of Aragon, from which it takes its name.

Crown of Castile Former country in the Iberian Peninsula

The Crown of Castile was a medieval state in the Iberian Peninsula that formed in 1230 as a result of the third and definitive union of the crowns and, some decades later, the parliaments of the kingdoms of Castile and León upon the accession of the then Castilian king, Ferdinand III, to the vacant Leonese throne. It continued to exist as a separate entity after the personal union in 1469 of the crowns of Castile and Aragon with the marriage of the Catholic Monarchs up to the promulgation of the Nueva Planta decrees by Philip V in 1715.


While the title belonged by right to all sons and daughters of a monarch (even when they ceased to be children of the reigning sovereign), it was also often accorded to sons-in-law and male-line grandchildren of the sovereign (e.g., Prince Ferdinand of Bavaria, Infante Pedro Carlos of Spain and Portugal), sometimes to other agnates of the ruling dynasty (e.g., Infante Enrique, Duke of Seville), and to female-line relatives of the monarch (e.g. Infante Sebastian of Portugal and Spain, Infante Alfonso de Orléans-Borbón).

Prince Ferdinand of Bavaria Bavarian prince

Prince Ferdinand of Bavaria was a Spanish prince, the eldest son and child of Ludwig Ferdinand of Bavaria and his wife, Infanta María de la Paz of Spain. Ferdinand became an Infante of Spain on 20 October 1905 and renounced his rights to the throne of the Kingdom of Bavaria in 1914.

Infante Pedro Carlos of Spain and Portugal Portuguese and Spanish infante

Don Pedro Carlos was an Infante of Spain and Portugal.

Patrilineality, also known as the male line, the spear side or agnatic kinship, is a common kinship system in which an individual's family membership derives from and is recorded through his or her father's lineage. It generally involves the inheritance of property, rights, names or titles by persons related through male kin.


Although the title is derived from the same root as "infant", in Romance languages the term may be more broadly interpreted to mean "child" (cfr. French enfants de France ), and historically indicated that the infante or infanta was the child of the nation's monarch.

Romance languages all the related languages derived from Vulgar Latin

The Romance languages are the modern languages that evolved from Vulgar Latin between the third and eighth centuries and that form a subgroup of the Italic languages within the Indo-European language family.

<i>Fils de France</i>

Fils de France was the style and rank held by the sons of the kings and dauphins of France. A daughter was known as a fille de France.

Like the enfants de France , all infantes in the various Iberian kingdoms were princes of the blood royal, although since 1987 the Spanish sovereign may also confer the title infantado by decree upon a person (typically the spouse of an infante or infanta) who is not of royal descent.

<i>Prince du sang</i>

A prince du sang is a person legitimately descended in dynastic line from any of a realm's hereditary monarchs. Historically, the term has been used to refer to men and women descended in the male line from a sovereign, although as absolute primogeniture has become more common in monarchies, those with succession rights through female descent are more likely than in the past to be accorded the princely title.

Portuguese infantes

Coronet of a Portuguese infante Coronet of a Infante - Kingdom of Portugal.svg
Coronet of a Portuguese infante

Infante had no feminine form at first in Portugal and may be compared to the infanções of the lower Portuguese nobility, who were also cadets of their families with no prospect of inheriting the main possessions of the noble families to which they belonged, being distinguished in law by some prerogatives, but little patrimony.

Portuguese nobility privileged social class in the Kingdom of Portugal officially enjoying hereditary privileges distinguishing them from other persons and families

The Portuguese nobility was the class of legally privileged and titled persons (nobility) recognized by the Kingdom of Portugal. During the absolute monarchy, nobles enjoyed the most privileged status and held the most important offices after members of the ruling dynasty and major hierarchs of the Roman Catholic Church.

In genealogy, a cadet is a younger son, as opposed to the firstborn heir. Compare puisne.

Property, in the abstract, is what belongs to or with something, whether as an attribute or as a component of said thing. In the context of this article, it is one or more components, whether physical or incorporeal, of a person's estate; or so belonging to, as in being owned by, a person or jointly a group of people or a legal entity like a corporation or even a society. Depending on the nature of the property, an owner of property has the right to consume, alter, share, redefine, rent, mortgage, pawn, sell, exchange, transfer, give away or destroy it, or to exclude others from doing these things, as well as to perhaps abandon it; whereas regardless of the nature of the property, the owner thereof has the right to properly use it, or at the very least exclusively keep it.

Later, the word infanta emerged in Portugal as a feminised form applied to Portuguese princesses after the 16th and 17th centuries. Also, after Edward, King of Portugal, in the 15th century, the heir apparent and his eldest son, or daughter if there was no son, came to be styled "prince" or "princess". The first prince in Portugal was the future Afonso V, his eldest son, maybe adopting the French royal style by an English influence imported by Philippa of Lancaster's retinue.

Edward, King of Portugal King of Portugal

Duarte, known in English as Edward and called the Philosopher or the Eloquent, was King of Portugal from 1433 until his death. He was born in Viseu, the son of John I of Portugal and his wife, Philippa of Lancaster. Edward was the oldest member of the "Illustrious Generation" of accomplished royal children who contributed to the development of Portuguese civilization during the 15th century. As a cousin of several English kings, he became a Knight of the Garter.

Afonso V of Portugal King of Portugal and the Algarves

Afonso V, called the African, was King of Portugal. His sobriquet refers to his conquests in Northern Africa.

Philippa of Lancaster English noblewoman and Portuguese queen consort

Philippa of Lancaster was Queen of Portugal from 1387 until 1415 by marriage to King John I. Born into the royal family of England, her marriage secured the Treaty of Windsor and produced several children who became known as the "Illustrious Generation" in Portugal.

After the accession of the House of Braganza to the throne, the honorific of "Most Serene" (Sereníssimo) was prefixed to the title of infante (Sereníssima for an infanta), since the complete appellation of this dynasty was "Most Serene House of Braganza" (Sereníssima Casa de Bragança), a style granted by the Pope. The style, however, does not seem to have been used with the title of Prince Royal.

In current use, the title is often accorded in Portugal (presently a republic) to close relatives of Duarte Pio, Duke of Braganza, head of the Portuguese Royal House: [1]

Afonso, Prince of Beira, Duarte Pio's eldest son, as heir apparent to the Portuguese Royal House, is styled Prince of Beira, not infante.

Spanish infantes

Heraldic crown of a Spanish infante Heraldic Crown of Spanish Infantes.svg
Heraldic crown of a Spanish infante

In the Spanish royal family, the dynastic children of the monarch and of the heir apparent are entitled to the designation and rank of infante with the style of Royal Highness (infantes by birth). A second category of infantes may be granted that title by royal decree (infantes by grace), but only bear the style of Highness. [3] Previously, the title and rank of infante of Spain was often granted to relatives and in-laws of Spain's monarchs, but unlike those created under the 1987 decree, their dynastic wives were automatically infantas and bearers of the title were Royal Highnesses.

In addition, some distant relatives of Spanish sovereigns, usually children of infantes by grace, were accorded the "honours and treatment" of infante or infanta, but were not granted the title itself, [1] [2] Included in this category were the children of Infante Carlos de Borbón-Dos Sicilias' second marriage to Princess Louise d'Orléans, those of Infante Fernando de Bavaria y Borbón's marriage with Infanta Maria Teresa of Spain, [2] and those of Infante Alfonso de Orléans-Borbón's marriage to Princess Beatrice of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (e.g., Princess María de las Mercedes of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, Countess of Barcelona, Prince Alvaro de Orléans-Borbón, Duke di Galliera). [1]

The current infantes of Spain (by rank) are:

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 de Badts de Cugnac, Chantal. Coutant de Saisseval, Guy. Le Petit Gotha. Nouvelle Imprimerie Laballery, Paris 2002, p. 303, 364-369, 398, 406, 740-742, 756-758 (French) ISBN   2-9507974-3-1
  2. 1 2 3 The style of Infante / Infanta de España at Heraldica
  3. Spanish: The Spanish Royal Decree 1368/1987, the regulation of Titles, Styles and Honors of the Royal Family BOE, Spanish Official Journal (accessed on October 27, 2008)

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