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The Changing Of The Guard At The Royal Palace Of Madrid

Written by Brian S.

The Royal Palace is one of the most important buildings in Spain, let alone Madrid, and with the greatest historical value. With an area of 135,000 m² and approximately 3,418 rooms, the palace, a great place of historical-artistic heritage, is dedicated to the largest royal family in Western Europe, the House of Bourbon. Without a doubt, it is a building that you can not miss during your visit to the city, and in this ShMadrid article, you will find more information about the oft-watched changing of the guard at the Royal Palace.

Related article: All you need to know about Real Madrid

The Royal Palace Of Madrid

Photo via Pixabay

The Royal Palace of Madrid was built by order of King Felipe V in 1738 through the work of architect Filippo Juvara and, after his death, his successor Juan Bautista Sachetti, with the participation of other renowned architects such as Ventura Rodríguez and Francesco Sabatini with the aim of being the official residence of future Spanish monarchs. The first monarch to settle in the Royal Palace was Carlos III, and Manuel Azaña, president of the Second Spanish Republic (1931-39), was the last Head of State, monarch or non-monarch, to live in this building. The Zarzuela Palace now has the honor of being the residence of the monarchy, currently King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia, since its reestablishment in the 1960s. This palace, one of the largest in the world, was declared a Historical Heritage of Spain and an Asset of Cultural Interest in 1931 (the same year King Alfonso XIII abdicated and formally established the Second Spanish Republic), and is currently used for the celebration of state ceremonies and solemn acts.

Changing Of The Guard

Photo by Contando Estrelas on VisualHunt / CC BY-SA

The changing of the guard at the Royal Palace has become one of the most viewed spectacles in the city, receiving a large number of visitors for more than a decade. This is made in the image and likeness that was done daily in the days of Alfonso XIII and monarchs before him. More than 400 people and 100 horses are responsible for staging this show every first Wednesday of the month, where stands are installed on the premises of the site and where spearmen and halberdiers, military and artillery pieces with ammunition checks to interpret this relief of the guard. The Music Unit is responsible for initiating the Changing of the Royal Guard at noon, while the incoming guard waits with the gun on his shoulder to the outgoing guard, all dressed in uniform to perform the relay.

Meanwhile, every Wednesday, at Puerta del Príncipe, the sentries of the palace, two on foot and two on horseback, dressed in gala uniforms similar to those used by the Spanish army during the reign of Alfonso XIII, carry out the change every 30 minutes with drummers performing military marches and following the orders and regulatory voices. The changing of the guard has become one of the most popular activities that is seen by tourists who travel to Madrid, both national and foreign, thus becoming an important attraction for the city in recent years, where The Royal Guard, one of the oldest security forces in Europe originating in the fifteenth century through the Corps of the Royal Alabardero Guards, perform this historic spectacle of the Royal Palace of Madrid.

Related article: The districts of Madrid

Hours & How To Get There

Photo by Contando Estrelas on VisualHunt / CC BY-SA

The event takes place on the first Wednesday of every month at noon and the show lasts about 50 minutes with free admission and is held in the Plaza de la Armería at the Royal Palace, with access from Puerta de Santiago. During the months of January, August, and September, the event is not held. Another ceremony of the same is carried out every Wednesday from 11:00 to 14:00 in the afternoon with changes every 30 minutes approximately, while in July, August, and September, the schedule is 10:00 at 12:00 noon. 

The Royal Palace is located in downtown Madrid on Calle de Bailén, not far from the Plaza Mayor and Plaza de España. You can get there via public transport at Principe Pío, Lines 6 and 10, and at Opera, on Lines 2 and 5 of the Madrid metro.

Have you seen the changing of the guard in the Royal Palace? Do not forget to share with us your experience in the comments!

About the author

Brian S.

Brian Susbielles is a freelance writer who loves global politics, foreign movies, and Led Zeppelin

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