Fransisco Franco, the dictator of Spain from 1939 to 1975, was a monarchist. Yet for the entirety of his time in office, there was no king of Spain. Only in 1969 did he appoint Juan Carlos I to be the next king of Spain, but he arranged it so that Juan Carlos I would only assume the throne after Franco's death.

My question is, why did Franco not reestablish the Spanish monarchy while he was still in office? Is it that he didn't want a competing power center, even if he supported the notion of monarchy in principle? If so, was that the official justification he gave the people, or did he give a pretext that was less self-serving?

  • Source for Franco being monarchist? Certainly a considerable number of people in his regime were (in fact there were two different factions of monarchist, Carlists and the supporters of Alphonse XIII branch), but as you noted he did little to restore the monarchy and the little he did could be seen as a way of getting the support from the monarchist faction. Also I would change assume the throne by becoming Head of State, as it is more explicit about the situation and that situation was odd (there was a King who was not the Head of State).
    – SJuan76
    Oct 6, 2017 at 15:51
  • @SJuan76 Wikipedia says "As a conservative and a monarchist, he opposed the abolition of the monarchy and the establishment of a socialist secular republic in 1931." en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francisco_Franco Oct 6, 2017 at 16:00
  • @SJuan76 King Alfonso XIII was the bestman at Franco's wedding, a long time before the war. That makes you suspect that Franco had good relations with the monarchy.
    – Ginasius
    Oct 7, 2017 at 17:39

1 Answer 1


The fact of the matter was that Franco did reestablish the monarchy, but only toward the end of his life.

In 1947, Franco declared Spain a monarchy. At the time, his preferred Spanish heir to the throne, Juan Carlos de Borbon was a child of nine, so that it made sense for Franco to conduct a regency. (Franco disliked the other leading royal candidate to the throne, and he also rejected the idea of crowning himself king.)

In 1969, Franco took the first steps for the transition. (Juan Carlos had just turned 30, the minimum age to be king.) Then Franco "split" is own role, designating Juan Carlos as the future king and head of state, and another man, Admiral Luis Carrero Blanco as his successor as head of government. Only Carrero Blanco's death in 1973, eventually led to Juan Carlos' rising to head of government as well. As a practical matter, Franco retained power until his own death in 1975.

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    Juan Carlos didn't become head of government (equivalent to prime minister). Last Franco's and first Juan Carlos's head of government was Arias Navarro. However, Carrero Blanco's death might have helped to free Juan Carlos's hands.
    – Pere
    May 31, 2018 at 14:45

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