The Infante Don Juan of Spain, Count of Barcelona (Juan Carlos Teresa Silvestre Alfonso de Borbón y Battenberg) English: (John Charles Therese Sylvester Alphonse of Bourbon and Battenberg) (La Granja, Segovia, June 20, 1913 – Pamplona, April 1, 1993), was the fourth son and designated heir of King Alfonso XIII of Spain and Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg, the monarch replaced by the Second Spanish Republic, and father of King Juan Carlos, under whom a constitutional monarchy was restored. As King, he would have been Juan III of Spain.
In March 1935 he passed his naval exams in gunnery and navigation, which would have entitled him to become a lieutenant in the Royal Navy if he gave up his Spanish nationality. This, however, he refused to do.
He met his future wife at a party hosted by Victor Emmanuel III of Italy on the day before his sister (Infanta Beatriz) was to be married. He married HRH Princess Maria Mercedes of Bourbon-Two Sicilies (1910-2000), known in Spain as Doña María de las Mercedes de Borbón Dos-Sicilias y Orleans, in Rome on October 12, 1935. On her marriage, she gained the title of Countess of Barcelona.
Just before the birth of the Infante Juan Carlos, the Count of Barcelona decided to go hunting, with the doctor telling him and his wife that the future king would not be born for weeks. When he was told of the birth he drove to the hospital so quickly that he broke an axle spring.
They had four children:
In 1936, his father sent him to enter Spain and participate in the uprising but, near the French border, General Mola arrested him and sent him back.
When General Francisco Franco declared Spain to be a monarchy in 1947, he characterised it as a reinstitution. However, Franco was afraid that Don Juan would turn out to be too liberal and roll back the Falangist state. As a result, in 1969 Franco passed over Don Juan, who would have been king if the monarchy had continued uninterrupted, in favour of his son Juan Carlos, who Franco believed would be more likely to continue the Francoist state after his death. Juan Carlos surprised many by his support of democratising Spain. However, Franco and the Count of Barcelona did not have a good relationship, with the count constantly pressing Franco to restore the monarchy. Relations soured further when Don Juan called Franco an "illegitimate usurper", while Franco claimed he had a stronger claim to rule Spain than did Don Juan.
The Count of Barcelona formally renounced his claim to the throne in 1977, forty-six years after Spain had been declared a republic, eight years after being deposed by Franco, and two years after his son had become King Juan Carlos. In return, his son officially granted him the title of Count of Barcelona, which he had claimed for so long.