Infante: Wikis

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Infante (masculine) or infanta (feminine), also anglicised as infant, was the title and rank given in the European kingdoms of Spain (including the predecessor kingdoms of Aragon, Castile, Navarre and León) and Portugal to the sons or daughters of the King who were not the heir to the throne. It was also used to denote a grandson or granddaughter in the male line of a reigning monarch. Female consorts of Princes of the blood, when married, automatically gained the title of nobility of Infanta. A male consort to a princess of the blood did not have an inherent right to the title, style and rank of Infante upon marriage.

In the European kingdoms of Spain (including the predecessor kingdoms of Aragon, Castile, Navarre and León) and Portugal, only the heirs to the throne are Princes or Princess, while the other children of the monarch are Infants.

The name derives from the same root as "infant," but this means simply "child" in Romance languages (cfr. French Enfants de France), and in this case indicates that the Infante or Infanta is the child of the monarch. Like the Enfants de France, all Infantes in the different kingdoms were and are always royal princes, in the general meaning of the word.

Contents

Portuguese infantes

Infante had no feminine form at first in Portugal, and may be related in Portuguese to the Portuguese lower nobility, the infanções, who were also the younger children with no prospects of heritage in the noble houses they were born to, just distinguished in law by some prerogatives, but almost no patrimony.

Afterwards, the word Infanta emerged in Portugal as a feminised form applied to the Portuguese princesses after the 16th and 17th centuries. Also, after Edward of Portugal, in the 15th century, the heir apparent and his older son, or daughter, were styled just as "Prince" and "Princess". The first Prince in Portugal was the future Afonso V, his eldest son, maybe adopting the French royal style by an English influence brought by queen Philippa of England.

After the ascension of the House of Braganza to the royalty, it was added the title "Most Serene" (Sereníssimo) to the title of Infante - as well as Sereníssima to Infanta -, since the complete name of this house was "Most Serene House of Braganza" (Sereníssima Casa de Bragança), a style granted by the Pope. The style, however, does not seem to be used with the title of Prince Royal.

The current Infantes of Portugal (presently a republic) are close relatives of Duarte Pio, Duke of Braganza, head of the Portuguese Royal House:

Afonso de Santa Maria, Prince of Beira, Duarte Pio eldest son, as heir apparent to the Portuguese Royal House, is styled Prince of Beira, not Infante.

Brazilian infantes

After its independence from Portugal (1822), Brazilian monarchy kept the use of Infante to indicate the siblings of the heir apparent. However, its use was gradually decreased since the official style for them was Princes of Brazil, distinguishing the Brazilian Infantes from the Imperial Prince of Brazil, the heir apparent, and the Prince of Grão-Pará, his/her eldest born son (or daughter). It should be noted that the Brazilian title of Prince of Brazil must not be confused with the former Portuguese homonym title.

Spanish infantes

In contemporary Spain, distantly related princes of the blood of the Spanish royal family are also granted the title. Note that infante is also used for a hereditary title of nobility, as in los infantes de Carrión in The Lay of the Cid. In the Royal Family the style of Infante is reserved for the children of the Monarch and the heir apparent (Infantes by birth). A second category of Infantes received the style by Royal Decree (Infantes by grace).[1]

The current Infantas of Spain (by birth). are:

Carlos de Borbón, Duke of Calabria and King Juan Carlos' cousin, also holds the title of Infante of Spain (by grace).

Alicia of Bourbon-Parma, mother of Infante Carlos, Infanta of Spain (by grace) from her marriage with Infante Alfonso, Duke of Calabria.[2]

Prince Felipe, son of King Juan Carlos, as heir apparent to the Spanish throne, is styled Prince of Asturias, not Infante.

See also

Footnotes

  1. ^ Spanish: [1] 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)
  2. ^ http://www.borbone-due-sicilie.org/english/genealogy.html Genealogy of the House of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, Real Casa de Borbón de las Dos Sicilias website.]
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