Originally Posted by Tatiana Maria
In the Dutch royal family, siblings of monarchs are not sidelined to the same degree as in the Spanish. Prince Constantijn remains not only a member of the Royal Family but also Royal House, and continues to carry out a small number of official functions.
It is not Infanta Sofía who will determine the extent to which she is in the spotlight, but the King and, in the future, Queen Leonor. She is in the same position as Infantas Elena and Cristina, and the King has made clear that their roles are severely limited.
There are three different issues in play here:
- Membership of the Royal Family.
- Order of precedence.
- Royal titles and styles.
Membership of the Royal Family is regulated by the royal decree 2917/1981 and is restricted to the King, the King's spouse, the King's parents, the King's direct descendants , and the Heir to the Crown (whether he or she descends from the King or not). Note that "the King" here has been interpreted as meaning the current King only.
That is why Infanta Elena and Infanta Cristina ceased to be members of the Royal Family when their brother ascended the throne.
Order of precedence, on the other hand, is regulated by the royal decrees 2099/1983 and 470/2014 and is currently as follows:
- HM The King
- HM The Queen
- HRH The Princess of Asturias
- HRH Infanta Sofía
- HM King Juan Carlos
- HM Queen Sofía
- Other infantes/infantas who do not descend from King Felipe VI
Although the royal decrees do not explicitly mention any relative precedence between the infantes/infantas
in (7), it is customary to place HRH Infanta Elena, Duchess of Lugo ahead of her sister, HRH Infanta Cristina, and of their aunt, HRH Infanta Margarita, Duchess of Hernani and Soria.
Finally, royal tiyles and styles are regulated by the royal decree 1368/1987, which, at least to me, is somewhat ambiguous in its language. It says that:
Los hijos del Rey que no tengan la condición de Príncipe o Princesa de Asturias y los hijos de este Príncipe o Princesa serán Infantes de España y recibirán el tratamiento de Alteza Real
There is no doubt that Sofia was an Infanta when she was born and remained so prior to her father's accession as she was back then a daughter of the Prince of Asturias. There is no doubt either that she is an Infanta now as she is a daughter of the King who does not hold the condition (or dignity) of Princess of Asturias. The ambiguity lies with the titles of Felipe VI's sisters as a literal reading of the article above might
suggest that the title of Infante expires once the title holder ceases to be one of 'the King's children" (interpreting again "The King" as "the current King").
That does not
seem to be the case though as Elena and Cristina continue
to be referred to as HRHs and Infantas, including, most notably in Cristina's case, in the royal decree 470/2015, where King Felipe VI stripped her of the right to use the title of Duchess of Palma de Mallorca, suggesting that the dignity of Infante
by first-degree descendancy from a
King, once acquired, is held for life.
then, both Sofía, Elena and Cristina appear to hold the same titular dignity (Infanta of Spain
) and the same style (Royal Highness). However, I would say that, as of today, Infanta Sofia clearly outranks her aunts (the King's sisters). Not only is she an official member of the Royal Family, whereas her aunts are not, but also she is accorded higher precedence in public and official acts than either Infanta Elena or Infanta Cristina. Once Leonor becomes Queen, then Sofia will be essentially in the same position as Elena and Cristina in the sense that she will lose her place in the RF and will be outranked by Leonor's children (if she has any).