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2.2979 Spanish titled Noblemen: Do they have special rights or duties with society?

Nobility titles are distinctions of an honorary nature that do not carry any economic or financial advantage.

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2.2979 Spanish titled Noblemen: Do they have special rights or duties with society?

Nobility titles are distinctions of an honorary nature that do not carry any economic or financial advantage. Spain is a country in which noble titles are protected by law. Their guardianship corresponds to the Ministry of Justice through Division of Grace Rights and other Rights. The use of a noble title is a taxable event, and requires the payment for the Tax on Property Transfers or Documented Legal Acts.

The Constitutional Court ruled that the current legal system and its regulations, which are some of the most old, conform to the Magna Carta's dictates and the powers that were attributed by the Crown in article 62f as fons honourum.

Despite the overwhelming verdict of the Constitutional Court confirming the constitutionality of the preference for men over women in hereditary transmissions of most Spanish nobility titles in Spanish, the legislature decided that it would promote reform of the legal system of titled nobility and approved Law 33/2006 on equality between men and women in succession of titles of nobility.

Two main categories can be identified among the Spanish noble titles: the great ones from Spain and those without greatness.

The Spanish nobility is the most distinguished because of its greatness. Its most distant antecedents can also be found in the privileged treatment of the great-lords and rich-men with more patrimonial power at the ceremonies of Court by Emperor Carlos I in his first years (second decade of 16th century). .

It is impossible to be certain, as there is no official document that demonstrates the greatness of the houses that were initially recipients of this distinction. Javier de Godo III, Count of Godo was the editor of La Vanguardia and has received the award for the greatest Spain 2008 (2008). There were 418 legally recognised greatnesses in the country as of January 1, 2022. Seven personal and 411 charges to other titles were made.

Titles without grandeur, -2,403 at the same time- date back to mid-14th century when titles such as marquis, count, baron, and so on were removed from any military or governmental functions in order to gain a strictly honorific sense. In order of formal hierarchy they are those of marquise, count, viscount baron, lord and vice-versa. Three honorary dignities, outside this typology, are assimiled by the Ministry of Justice into the titles of nobility. They are Admiral and Major Advance of Indies, which are linked to the Duchy of Veragua and Admiral of Aragon, and Marshal of Alcala del Valle.

Individuals can hold different noble titles: currently there are 2,279 people who have a Spanish noble title. The legislator established specific rules regarding the recognition of titles given by monarchs of Carlist dynasty as well as foreign titles, including pontifical titles. The holders of fifteen foreign titles are legally allowed to use them in Spain; thirteen are pontifical, and two are French.

Titles are generally permanent. There are also life titles, which are granted to a person for their enjoyment in life and then expire upon his death. Curiously, this is the type of noble title that a King of Spain granted at the time these lines were written (Decree 354/2014, May 13), by which the title de Countess de Gisbert is granted to the academic and professor Mrs. Maria del Carmen Iglesias Cano for life.

Two successive provisions are required to create a title of nobility. The Royal Foundation Charter describes the characteristics of the title, which is its source and unalterable source. The Royal Decree of the Council of Ministers makes it known erga.omnes, which is published in the Official State Gazette.

The formal rank of the distinction (duchy or marquisate) is determined by the sovereign's free will. Its duration (permanent or life), as well as whether the concessionaire is exempted from taxes during the first or second transmission.

Concerning the denomination, it is most common that, after the royal decision to grant a new dignity has been made, a qualified member of His Majesty asks discreetly about the preferences of the winner.

When the legal owner of a nobiliary mercy dies, the property becomes vacant and it is transmitted, the succession of that nobiliary mercy occurs. Their heirs must exercise this right before the Ministry of Justice according to the rules and procedures that were established and within the prescribed periods. Rehabilitation is a process that allows the title and perpetual titles that have been vacant for over five years to be used again. The last word of rehabilitation corresponds only to the king.

It is not clear who is best qualified to receive a noble title. It is important to remember that this is an ex-gratia act. Although the proposal may come from the Council of Ministers at times, the sovereign is the most likely to initiate it. He can then choose the person who is worthy of it. Although the concession needs ministerial approval, the monarch can make the final decision on his own.

Over the centuries, the characteristics of noble titles recipients have changed. The ennobled almost exclusively consisted of patricians or great lords in the early days. They were first awarded to individuals who distinguished themselves for their service to the Crown in the 17th century. These awards were given to lawyers, high-ranking dignitaries, and bureaucrats at the Court. People who were outstanding in politics, finance, diplomacy, and on the battlefields were awarded them in the 19th century.

Spain was made a kingdom by the proclamation of the Law of Succession of the Head of State on July 27, 1947. Francisco Franco took over the traditional Crown prerogative of granting and rehabilitating noble titles.

Franco was made head of the state by granting 4 dukedoms to Franco, 15 marquisates, 16 Counties, and three additional grandees from Spain. The Congress of Deputies is currently considering an amendment to the so-called Law of Democratic Memory, which was presented by the parliamentary group of the PSOE or Podemos. It would allow for the cancellation of many of these.

From 1975 to his abdication in 2014., Juan Carlos I granted 53 titles de nobility. Six greatnesses of Spain joined other titles, three dukedoms and 35 marquisates. If we consider the nearly 40 years of his reign, it is possible to count only a few concessions. Only three of the concessions were hereditary. Seven concessions were granted prior to the 1978 Constitution.

Don Juan Carlos included artists, intellectuals and professors as well as scientists, doctors, economists, financial analysts, and even an athlete, Vicente del Bosque, the former coach of the national soccer squad. This demonstrated that titles could recognize and make visible promotion for anyone who proves themselves worthy, regardless of socioeconomic status, profession, or ideological convictions. The emeritus monarch considers "holding a noble title to require greater self-demanding servitudes, assuming a code social values and the exceptional exercise of the highest ideals that have characterized those who have served Spain." King Felipe VI has yet to make use of his prerogative to grant titles of nobility.

One point cannot be stressed enough: Titles are available for public use. It does not matter if someone is successful in obtaining a noble title. He should show it with genuine pride and honor his ancestors.

This article was published in "The Conversation".

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