Spanish Royal Guard

The Royal Guard (Spanish: Guardia Real) is an independent regiment of the Spanish Armed Forces that is dedicated to the protection of the King of Spain and members of the Spanish Royal Family. It currently has a strength of 1900 troops. While the guard does participate in parades and other ceremonial events, it is a fully functional combat unit. Its members are recruited from the ranks of all three branches of the Spanish Armed Forces and receive the same combat training as regular soldiers.

Royal Guard
Guardia Real
Country Spain
AllegianceKing and Fatherland
Branch Spanish Armed Forces
TypeInfantry, cavalry and horse artillery
RoleExecutive protection
Foot Guards
Honor guard
Size1900 troops (1 regiment)
Garrison/HQRoyal Palaces
Motto(s)Al servicio de la Corona
("At the service of the Crown")
MarchHimno de la Guardia Real
("Hymn of the Royal Guards")
AnniversariesOctober 12
General Prim
General Castaños

The guard contains a diverse mix of units: a Royal Marines company from the Navy, a paratroop company from the Air Force and an infantry company from the Army, among others. Some units served in recent times in Afghanistan and Bosnia.


The history of the Royal Guard dates back to medieval times. The senior unit and one of the oldest body guards in the world is the Corps of Gentlemen of the Chamber, the Monteros de Espinosa, dating to 1006 and created by Sancho Garcia of the House of Castile.

Even before the time of the first monarch of Spain, the Catholic Monarchs formed the group called the Old Guards of Castile (Guardias Viejas de Castilla). Later on, the first monarch of Spain, Charles V ordered that a company of those guards to guard & reside in his palace, denominating it The Hundred Contines (Los Cien Continos)

Official formation

Later on, Charles V's father, Philip the Handsome arrived in Spain in 1502 brought with him his "Archers of Burgundy" aka "of the Blade". These group of Royal Guards with their Burgundian style will remain in service until the reorganization of the "Troops of Royal House" (Tropas de Casa Real) by Felipe V.

Civil War

The guards were disbanded in 1931 as a result of the formation of the 2nd Republic & was replaced by the cavalry unit, the "Presidential Escort Squadron" (Escuadrón de Escolta Presidencial). By 1936, it included the "Presidential Guard Battalion” (batallón de Guardia Presidencial), which remained loyal to the Republic during the civil war.


Under Francisco Franco, By Decree of February 4, 1949, the Military House of the Generalissimo was reorganized & formed “the Regiment of the Guard of His Excellency the Head of State” (Regimiento de la Guardia de Su Excelencia el Jefe del Estado), later on the "Guards Regiment of HE the Generalissimo" (Regimiento de la Guardia de S.E. el Generalísimo), which included a mounted squadron (the Guardia Mora) which was first raised from surplus personnel of the Regulares. After several reorganizations, the unit would last until Franco's death as a combined arms guard regiment.

Upon Franco’s death & the ascension of King Juan Carlos as the head of state, the guard regiment was integrated into the new army under the king & formed the basis of the "Regiment of the Royal Guard" (Regimiento de la Guardia Real); the modern day Guardia Real. [1]


The Royal Guard supports the everyday ceremonial activities of the regiment and the Spanish Armed Forces. In addition to protecting members of Spanish Royal Family, the present functions of the unit include the protection of foreign heads of state visiting Spain, and of royal palaces such as the Royal Palace of Madrid (Palacio Real), the Palace of El Pardo and the Palace of Zarzuela. It is involved in the guard mounting ceremony (Cambio de la Guardia) at the Royal Palace on the first Wednesday of every month from 12 midday to 2pm (save for July, August and September).[2] It is present at military parades in the national capital of Madrid on official holidays including Fiesta Nacional de España and Día de la Constitución. Annually, it has a troop review during the Pascua Militar ceremony on 6 January.

Beside public duties, the regiment is also an active combat unit and have been deployed to Bosnia and Afghanistan.


  • High Command of the Royal Guard
  • High Command Group
    • Group HQ
    • HQ Company
    • Security Company
    • Communications Company
    • Formation Company
    • Religious Service of the Royal Guard
  • Escorts Group
    • Group HQ
    • Military Control Company
      • Perimeter Control Section
      • Interior Control Section
      • Bomb Detection/Attack Dog Section
      • Motorcycle Section
    • Alabarderos (Halberdiers) Company
      • 1st Immediate Security Section
      • 2nd Immediate Security Section
      • Alabarderos Section
    • Royal Escort Squadron
    • Royal Horse Artillery Battery
    • Equestrian Training Unit
  • Honors Group
    • Group HQ
    • Army Company "Monteros de Espinosa"
      • 1st Platoon
      • 2nd Platoon
      • 3rd Platoon
      • Drill Team Platoon
    • Navy and Marine Composite Company "Mar Océano"
      • 1st Platoon
      • 2nd Platoon
      • 3rd Platoon
    • Air Force Squadron "Plus Ultra"
      • 1st Flight
      • 2nd Flight
      • 3rd Flight
    • Mountaineering Group
    • Diving Unit
    • Sniper Unit
  • Logistics Group
    • Group HQ
    • Administration Company
    • Maintenance Company
    • Transportation Company
    • Logistics Directorates
  • Musical Unit of the Armed Forces Royal Guard

See also


  1. Reseña histórica
  2. Archived February 19, 2013, at the Wayback Machine

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