Royal Palace of Madrid

The Royal Palace of Madrid is located in the Madrid of the Austrias. It was the residence and headquarters of the Hispanic monarchy since its construction, during the reign of Philip V, until the proclamation of the II Republic.

The origins of the Royal Palace date back to the old Alcázar in Madrid, from the Spanish-Muslim period. Centuries later, the Trastámara family transformed this castle into a royal residence. However, it was Charles V who carried out an important restructuring of the building. During the reign of Philip II and at a time when Madrid becomes the capital of Spain, the Alcázar gained great importance.

In the early hours of December 24, 1734, a fire completely destroyed the Alcazar. Philip V was the first monarch of the Bourbon Dynasty, who promoted the construction of a new palace.

The project was entrusted to Filippo Juvarra. However, his premature death caused the construction works to be directed by Giovanni Battista Sacchetti and, later, by Francesco Sabatini.

Finally, the Royal Palace was finished during the reign of Ferdinand VI. Even so, later monarchs carried out small renovations.

Access to the Royal Palace of Madrid must be through the Patio de Armas (Parade Ground). It is a wide forecourt similar to the one in the old Alcázar de los Austrias. It was aimed to hold the parades of the troops, as well as different military exercises.

From here you will enter the Palace through the south facade. It was the first facade to be built, and keeps the same orientation of the main entrance of the Alcazar.

All the decoration of the facades are for propaganda purposes. It exalts the Spanish monarchy and the Catholic Church.

Royal Palace of Madrid
Parade ground

Once inside, the first fascinating element is the Main Staircase. It was designed by Giovanni Battista Sachetti. The original design is different from the one preserved today. Where today there is a niche, there was another branch of the stair.

It is an imperial-type staircase with large windows with arches, adjoining columns, pilasters and is decorated with different castles and the Golden Toisón.

Royal Palace of Madrid
Main Staircase

One of the most important rooms of the Royal Palace is the Salón del Trono (Throne Room). It is preserved as it was in the time of Charles III (with some exceptions). One one hand, there are some decorative elements from the time of Charles IV and Ferdinand VII. On the other hand, there are two thrones, which belong to the reign of John Charles I.

It is completely decorated with red velvet hangings with embroidered borders. Twelve large mirrors are distributed along the walls.

A highly decorated sculptural canopy houses the space of the Throne. There are also two sculptures of two golden lions which come from the old Alcazar. They symbolically protect the Throne.

In this room, various public acts of exaltation of the monarchy are held, such as the royal kissing of hands and the presentation of credentials. In its day it was even used for the exhibition of the mortal remains of Charles III.

Royal Palace of Madrid
Throne Room

The frescoes in this room painted by the Venetian painter Giovanni Battista Tiepolo are of great value.  They represent the Greatness or Majesty of the Hispanic Monarchy, in a composition that brings together numerous groups of figures. Among them are the Olympic gods and the properties of the Crown.

Royal Palace of Madrid
Allegory of America
Royal Palace of Madrid
Allegory of Asia

Another of the most important rooms in the Royal Palace is the “Cuarto del Rey” (King’s room). This is a series of rooms from the time of Charles III, where the monarch usually spent most of the time. It consists of the antechamber, the chamber and the bedroom.

In its vaults there are frescos made by Anton Raphael Mengs. The Apotheosis of Hercules stands out. It represents the moment when Hercules received immortality in recognition of the tests he had to pass.

Different real portraits of the painter Francisco de Goya can also be found in these rooms.

Royal Palace of Madrid
Apotheosis of Trajan

The Sala de Porcelana (Porcelain Room) is one of the richest rooms in terms of decoration. Its walls and ceiling are covered with porcelain plates held in place by a wooden frame. These porcelain plates were made in the factory Fábrica de Porcelanas y Piedras duras del Buen Retiro. In the floor there is a large marble mosaic with designs by Gasparini.

Royal Palace of Madrid
Porcelain Room

The Royal Palace of Madrid cannot be conceived without its fascinating Comedor de Gala (Dining Room for special ocasions), formerly the Salón de Columnas (Column Hall). Its current layout corresponds to the wish of Alfonso XII. He wished to have a large ballroom and a dining room for the official events.

Paintings by Mengs decorate the vaults once again. The most popular is Aurora con su carro tirado por caballos. Also Colón ofreciendo el mundo a los Reyes Católicos by Antonio González Velázquez and Rendición de Granada by Francisco Bayeu

Royal Palace of Madrid
Dining room for special ocassions

Finally, we recommend you to visit the Capilla Real (Royal Chapel). It is the space dedicated to religious worship and where the relics of San Felix are found.

The most remarkable feature of the chapel, besides its rich decoration, is the dome. It is decorated with frescoes by Corrado Giaquinto. They represent the Coronation of the Virgin, as well as important saints from Madrid, such as San Isidro or Santa María de la Cabeza.

Royal Palace of Madrid
Dome of the Royal Chapel

Location: Plaza de Oriente, Madrid.
Coordinates: 40°25′06″N 3°42′51″O.

There is a car parking under the Plaza de Oriente.

Getting there by public transport is easy. Bus lines are 3, 25, 39 and 148. If you prefer to take the underground, you should get off at Opera station (lines 2 and 5).

You can also take the train and get off in Sol and Príncipe Pío stations.

If you are looking for a place to stay, visit our website on accommodation and, in order to enjoy the Spanish cuisine, visit our website with the of best places to eat in Madrid.

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