King Alfonso XIII loved football and took Madrid football club under his patronage, thus making it the Real Madrid Club (“Royal Madrid club”).
Alfonso XIII – the last Spanish king before the long period of the Republic and the Civil War – left Spain on this day. This means that there was no king in Spain from 1931 until 1975, when the current ruler Juan Carlos finally took on the throne. It is important to note that Juan Carlos is actually the grandson of the mentioned Alfonso XIII.
Why did Alfonso XIII have to flee from Spain? The reason lies in the fact that the country was declared a republic on this day in 1931. It was a result of the victory of the Republicans, and various leftist and workers’ parties, in the elections which were held just two days earlier. King Alfonso XIII is generally not considered a bad ruler, but his reputation was compromised he allowed General Miguel Primo de Rivera to rule over Spain, formally as the king’s prime minister, but in reality as a dictator. His authoritarian regime caused great dissatisfaction in Spain.
King Alfonso XIII fled abroad, and eventually settled in Rome. He lived there in the Grand Hotel, and never formally renounced the Spanish throne. Alfonso XIII supported General Francisco Franco when he started fighting against these Spanish Republicans and leftists. However, it is interesting that Franco did not support Alfonso XIII, and even stated that his people would never accept Alfonso XIII as king.
Alfonso XIII died in Rome in 1941, after spending nearly 10 years in exile. Let us mention the interesting fact that he, while still ruler in Spain, gave the famous football club from Madrid the title “Real” (which means “royal” in Spanish). In fact, he loved football and took the Madrid football club under his patronage, thus making it the Real Madrid Club (Royal Madrid club).