Palacio de la Zarzuela
Zarzuela Palace is the principal residence of King Juan Carlos of Spain and Queen Sofia
Queen Sofía of Spain
Queen Sofía of Spain is the wife of King Juan Carlos I of Spain.-Early life and family:Princess Sophia of Greece and Denmark was born in Psychiko, Athens, Greece on 2 November 1938, the eldest child of the King Paul of Greece and his wife, Queen Frederika , a former princess of Hanover...

 and their family. The palace is on the outskirts of Madrid
Madrid is the capital and largest city of Spain. The population of the city is roughly 3.3 million and the entire population of the Madrid metropolitan area is calculated to be 6.271 million. It is the third largest city in the European Union, after London and Berlin, and its metropolitan...

, near the Royal Palace of El Pardo. The complex also houses the official residence of the Prince
Felipe, Prince of Asturias
Felipe, Prince of Asturias de Borbón y de Grecia; born 30 January 1968), is the third child and only son of King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofía of Spain....

 and Princess of Asturias
Letizia, Princess of Asturias
Letizia, Princess of Asturias , is the wife of Felipe, Prince of Asturias, the heir apparent to the Spanish throne...

 in a nearby mansion. The palace is owned by the Spanish State and administered by the Patrimonio Nacional
Patrimonio Nacional
The Consejo de Administración del Patrimonio Nacional is a Spanish state agency, under the jurisdiction of the Minister of the Presidency by delegation of the Prime Minister of Spain, that administers the sites owned by the Spanish...



During the 17th century, King Philip IV
Philip IV of Spain
Philip IV was King of Spain between 1621 and 1665, sovereign of the Spanish Netherlands, and King of Portugal until 1640...

 ordered a country palace
A palace is a grand residence, especially a royal residence or the home of a head of state or some other high-ranking dignitary, such as a bishop or archbishop. The word itself is derived from the Latin name Palātium, for Palatine Hill, one of the seven hills in Rome. In many parts of Europe, the...

 or hunting lodge to be built at La Zarzuela near Madrid. It was a rectangular, slate-roofed building with two lateral arcade
Arcade (architecture)
An arcade is a succession of arches, each counterthrusting the next, supported by columns or piers or a covered walk enclosed by a line of such arches on one or both sides. In warmer or wet climates, exterior arcades provide shelter for pedestrians....

s. Carlos IV
Charles IV of Spain
Charles IV was King of Spain from 14 December 1788 until his abdication on 19 March 1808.-Early life:...

 carried out alterations to the building to adapt it to 18th century taste, and adorned it with tapestries
Tapestry is a form of textile art, traditionally woven on a vertical loom, however it can also be woven on a floor loom as well. It is composed of two sets of interlaced threads, those running parallel to the length and those parallel to the width ; the warp threads are set up under tension on a...

 and porcelain
Porcelain is a ceramic material made by heating raw materials, generally including clay in the form of kaolin, in a kiln to temperatures between and...

, as well as furniture
Furniture is the mass noun for the movable objects intended to support various human activities such as seating and sleeping in beds, to hold objects at a convenient height for work using horizontal surfaces above the ground, or to store things...

 and his much-loved clock
A clock is an instrument used to indicate, keep, and co-ordinate time. The word clock is derived ultimately from the Celtic words clagan and clocca meaning "bell". A silent instrument missing such a mechanism has traditionally been known as a timepiece...


Royal residence

The King and Queen of Spain have lived in the palace since their marriage in 1962. After the death of Francisco Franco
Francisco Franco
Francisco Franco y Bahamonde was a Spanish general, dictator and head of state of Spain from October 1936 , and de facto regent of the nominally restored Kingdom of Spain from 1947 until his death in November, 1975...

 in 1975, the King and Queen refused to occupy his El Pardo Palace, leaving it for foreign state guests, designating the Moncloa Palace
Palacio de la Moncloa
The Palace of Moncloa or Moncloa Palace , located in the Ciudad Universitaria ward of Madrid , has been the official residence for the Prime Minister of Spain since 1977, when Adolfo Suárez moved the residence from the Villamejor Palace on the Paseo de la Castellana...

 as the residence of the President of the Spanish Government, while they remained at Zarzuela. The Royal Palace
Royal Palace of Madrid
The Palacio Real de Madrid is the official residence of the King of Spain in the city of Madrid, but it is only used for state ceremonies. King Juan Carlos and the Royal Family do not reside in the palace, choosing instead the more modest Palacio de la Zarzuela on the outskirts of Madrid...

 in the centre of Madrid, the former principal residence of the Spanish kings, is the official residence
Official residence
An official residence is the residence at which heads of state, heads of government, gubernatorial or other senior figures officially reside...

 of the King, although it is only used for state occasions.

In summer 2002, the Prince of Asturias
Felipe, Prince of Asturias
Felipe, Prince of Asturias de Borbón y de Grecia; born 30 January 1968), is the third child and only son of King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofía of Spain....

 moved into a new residence, a 3,150 m² palace built within the La Zarzuela Palace grounds.


The palace theatre was the birthplace of the Spanish operetta style, zarzuela
Zarzuela is a Spanish lyric-dramatic genre that alternates between spoken and sung scenes, the latter incorporating operatic and popular song, as well as dance...

. "Zarzuela" is thought to be derived from "zarzas" meaning bramble
Brambles are thorny plants of the genus Rubus, in the rose family . Bramble fruit is the fruit of any such plant, including the blackberry and raspberry. The word comes from Germanic *bram-bezi, whence also German Brombeere , Dutch Braam and French framboise...

s, due to its function as a hunting lodge meaning that it is situated amongst the brambles of the King's Hunting Grounds.

External links

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