The Royal Guard (Spanish: Guardia Real) is an independent unit of the Spanish Armed Forces that is dedicated to the protection of the King of Spain and members of the Spanish Royal Family. It currently has a strength of 1900 troops. While the guard does participate in parades and other ceremonial events, it is a fully functional combat unit. Its members are recruited from the ranks of all three branches of the Spanish Armed Forces and receive the same combat training as regular soldiers.
The guard contains a diverse mix of units: a Royal Marines company from the Navy, a paratroop company from the Air Force and an infantry company from the Army, among others. Some units have served in recent times in Afghanistan and Bosnia.
|Allegiance||King and Fatherland|
|Branch||Spanish Armed Forces|
|Type||Infantry, cavalry and horse artillery|
|Size||1900 troops (1 regiment)|
|Motto(s)||Al servicio de la Corona
("At the service of the Crown")
|March||Hymn of the Royal Guards|
The history of the Royal Guard dates back to medieval times. The senior unit and one of the oldest body guards in the world is the Corps of Gentlemen of the Chamber, the Monteros de Espinosa, dating to 1006 and created by Sancho Garcia of the House of Castile.
In addition to protecting members of Spanish Royal Family, the present functions of the unit include the protection of foreign heads of state visiting Spain, and of royal palaces such as the Royal Palace of Madrid (Palacio Real), the Palace of El Pardo and the Palace of Zarzuela.