Spain Heads

Worldwide Guide to Women in Leadership
Spain Heads of State

Also see Spain Substates and Spain Ecclesiastical Territory

1474-1504 Queen Isabel of Castilla
She was the daughter of John II of Castile and León by his second wife, Isabella of Portugal. In 1469 Princess Isabella married Ferdinand of Aragón, known also as Ferdinand V, the Catholic. On the death of her brother, Henry IV, Isabella and Ferdinand jointly succeeded (1474) to the throne of Castile and León. 

1504-06 Queen Juana I la Loca of Castille and Argon
She was insane and her husband Felipe I was king 1504-06 of Castilla and Regent of Spain till his death 1506. Juanas son, Carlos I (and V of the Holy Roman Empire) became king in 1516 after Fernando IIs death. Juana died 1555.

1526-37 Vice-reine and Lieutenant General  Germana de Foix of Valencia
Germaine de Foix, was the daughter of Count Jean de Foix, d'Etampes and Vicomte de Narbonne and Marie d'Orleans, she succeeded her brother, Gaston. She was married to Fernando II the Catholic of Aragon as his second wife after the death of Queen Isabel I. They engaged in a power struggle over her lands (Nemours, Countess of Foix-Béarn) until his death in 1516. Three years later she married Johan von Brandenburg-Ansbach (d. 1525) one year after his death she married Fernando d'Aragon, Duca di Calabria (d. 1550) and they were appointed Virreina and Virrey of Valencia. She did not have any children, and lived (1490-1537).

1528, 1529-33, 1535-36, 1538-39 Regent Queen Isabel de Portugal
Regent during her husband Carlos (V) (1516-56)'s travels in the Empire. She was granddaughter of Ferdinand and Isabella, and Mother of Philip II (Husband to Queen Mary). Charles V, of Spain and the Hapsburg Empire, needed to make a strong political alliance. She lived (1503-39)

1558-51 Regent Infanta Maria
For brother Carlos I during his travels in the Empire

1554-56 Regent Infanta Juana
For father Carlos I.   She lived (137-73)

1598-1611 Politically Influential Queen Margarita d'Austria of Spain and Portugal.
Reacted toward the influence of the advisors and the Duke of Lerma during the reign of her spouse, King Felipe III, and was active in an intrigue to reveal the corrucption she accused Lerma of having, which eventually lead to his fall from power, although not until after her own death. Active in representing the Austrian Habsburg interests at the Spanish court from 1599 until her death. A great patroness of the arts, she was daughter of Archduke Karl II of Austria and Maria Anna of Bavaria, and mother of a number of children. She lived (1584-1611).

1640-44 Regent Queen Isabel de Borbon
In charge of the government when her husband, Felipe IV was engaged in the Catalan. She lived (1602-44).

1665-75 Regent Dowager Queen Maria Ana de Austria
For son Carlos II. She lived (1635-96)

1700-01 Member of Regency Council Dowager Queen Maria-Ana von der Pfalz-Neuenburg
She was widow of Carlos II (1665-1700). In 1700 Felipe V of Bourbon became king - he was great-grandson of Felipe IV, who reigned (1621-65), and became king after a war of succession.

1701-14 Politically Influential Marie-Anne de la Trémoille, Princess des Ursins
Her first husband, Adrien Blaise de Talleyrand, Prince de Chalais fled to Spain after having involved in a duel in 1663 and died shortly after. She moved to Spain and married Flavio Orsini, duke of Bracciano in 1675. After his death in 1701 she sold his estates, assumed the title of Princesse des Ursins, a corruption of Orsini, and became Mistress of the Robes of Queen Maria Luisa de Savoia, who, together with her husband Felipe V of Spain (Philippe d'Anjou), was completely under her influence. She ensured that he dismissed his French advisors and relyed on native Spanish aides. In 1704 her enemies at the French court secured her recall, but she still had the support of Madame de Maintenon. The following year she returned to Spain, with a free hand, and with what was practically the power to name her own ministry. During the worst times of the war of the Spanish Succession she was the real head of the Bourbon party, and was well aided by the spirited Queen. She did not hesitate to quarrel even with such powerful personages as the Cardinal Archbishop of Toledo, Portocarrero, when they proved hostile. After Maria Luisa's death, Felipe married Elisabetta Farnese who dismissed her. She spend the rest of her life in Rome. The daughter of the Duc de Noirmontier and Renée Julie Aubri, she lived (1642-1722).

1702 Governor and Lieutenant General Queen Maria Luisa Gabriala de Saboya
Born as Princess of Savoie, she was regent during her husband, Felipe V's campaign in Italy. She lived (1688-1714)

1711-14 Regent and General-Captain Dowager Queen Elisabeta Cristina von Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel
For Carlos of Argon, Catalona and Valencia during the succession-war with France. He was king (1703-14) and abdicated to become Emperor Karl VI of Austria. She lived (1691-1750)

1714-46 De-Facto Ruler Queen Isabel Farnesio of Spain
1759 Regent Dowager Queen
Born as Elisabetta Farnese di Parma, Elizabeth Farnese was regent until her son, Carlos III, arrived in Spain from The Two Sicilies after the death of her stepson Fernando III (1713-46-59). In 1714 she had married Philip V of Spain (1683-1746) who was was afflicted by fits of manic depression and increasingly fell victim to a deep melancholia, and she quickly obtained complete influence over him. The Triple Alliance thwarted her plans to  recover the ancient Italian possessions of Spain, and at length in 1720 the allies made the banishment of Cardinal Alberoni a condition of peace. Sicily also had to be evacuated. And finally, all her entreaties failed to prevent the abdication of Philip, who in 1724 gave up the throne to his son by his first wife, Louis, who however died after seven months and he was recalled to the throne. During his later years, when he was nearly imbecile, she directed the whole policy of Spain so as to secure thrones in Italy for her sons. In 1736 her son Don Carlos became king of the Two Sicilies. Her second son, Philip, inherited the Duchy of Parma via her after the death of her father, Odoardo II of Parma. The mother of 7 children, she lived (1692-1766). 


1833-68 Her Catholic Majesty Queen Isabella II, by the Grace of God, Queen of Spain, Castile, Leon, Aragon, the Two Sicilies, of Jerusalem, Navarra, Granada, Toledo, Valencia, Galicia, Mallorca, Menorca, Sevilla, Cardeña, Cordoba, Cocega, Murcia, Jaen, Algeria, Algernon, Gibraltar, the East and West Indies, the Canary Islands, and the Oceanic Colonies, Archduchess of Austria, Duchess of Burgundy, Brabant and Milano, Countess of Habsburg, Flanders, Tirol and Barcelona, Lady of Vizcaya and Molina. She was married to Don Franciso of Spain, titular king, mother of around 14 children of whom only her son, Alfonso XII and four daughters survived. She was deposed 1868, abdicated 187? and lived (1830-1904).

1833-40 Regent Dowager Queen Maria-Cristina de Borbón
She was replaced as regent because of incompetence

1845-1870 Politically Influential María de los Dolores Rafaela Quiroga
As a nun, she was known as Sor Patronico, she became famous in 1829 when she had visions and revelations, followed by the development of the stigmata. Her reputation spread and cloths stained with the blood of her wounds were in request as curative amulets. During the Carlist war, the clericals, who favored Don Carlos, saw in her a useful instrument. She was made to prophesy the success of the Pretender and to furnish proof of the illegitimacy of the young Queen Isabel II. She returned to the convent, but a few years later she was back, and exercied a strong conservative influence on the Queen together with some rightwing clergymen and brother Manuel Quiroga. In 1849 she was held to have forced Isabel to dismiss the Duke of Valencia (Narvaez) and his cabinet. This was followed by what was known as the Ministerio Relámpago (Lightning Ministry) which held office for three hours on 19 October. Narvaez was recalled, and she had to leave the court, but was soon recalled. His successor, Bravo Murillo, sought to get a respite by persuading the Nuncio Brunelli to send her to Rome, but this availed little, for she soon returned, more powerful than ever, with the blessing of Pius IX. Under her guidance, during the remainder of Isabel's reignl, she and her followers practically ruled the kingdom and precipitated the revolution of 1868, which, for a time, supplanted the monarchy with a republic. After the fall of Isabel she became Abbess of Guadalajara. María Rafaela Quiroga or Sor María Cipriana del Patrocinio de San José
lived (circa 1809-91).

1885-86 Queen-Governor and Regent of the Realm (25.11-17.5)
1886-1902 Queen Regent María Cristina de Austria y Austria-Este  (17.5.-17.5)
She was Regent first during the vacancy of the Throne and pending the gestation of a posthumous heir - her son Alfonso XIII (1886-1931-41), who was born 6 months after the death of her husband Alfonso XII.
María Cristina lived (1859-1929).

1885-86 Queen-Designate Maria de Mercedes de Borbon y Austria (september-17.5)
When her father, Alfonso XII died, her mother was pregnant and she was not proclaimed Queen. She was  Princess of Asturia, Heiress-Presumptive all her life. Her descendants of the family of Borbon Dos-Sicilias were included in the line of succession until the change of the constitution in 1978. She lived (1880-1904).



Last update 14.07.09