AskDefine | Define infanta

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16th or 17th century. From Spanish and/or Portuguese infanta, feminine of infante.


  1. The daughter of a king in Spain and Portugal.

Related terms


Extensive Definition

Infante (masculine) or infanta (feminine), also anglicised as infant, was the title and rank given in the medieval European kingdoms of Aragon, Castile, Galicia, Navarre, León, and Portugal to a son or daughter, and to a grandson or granddaughter in the male line of a reigning monarch (and also to a princess's children if she was the heir apparent to the throne), and their woman consorts. Male consorts had not, and have no right to the title, style and rank.
The name derives from the same root as "infant," but this means simply "child" in Romance languages (cfr. French Enfants de France), and in this case indicates that the Infante or Infanta is the child of the monarch. Like the Enfants de France, all Infantes in the different kingdoms were and are always royal princes, in the general meaning of the word.

Portuguese infantes

Infante had no feminine form at first in Portugal, and may be related in Portuguese to the Portuguese lower nobility, the infanções, who were also the younger children with no prospects of heritage in the noble houses they were born to, just distinguished in law by some prerogatives, but almost no patrimony.
Afterwards, the word Infanta emerged in Portugal as a feminised form applied to the Portuguese princesses after the 16th and 17th centuries. Also, after Edward of Portugal, in the 15th century, the heir apparent and his older son, or daughter, were styled just as "Prince" and "Princess". The first Prince in Portugal was the future Afonso V, his eldest son, maybe adopting the French royal style by an English influence brought by queen Philippa of England.
After the ascension of the House of Braganza to the royalty, it was added the title "Most Serene" (Sereníssimo) to the title of Infante - as well as Sereníssima to Infanta -, since the complete name of this house was "Most Serene House of Braganza" (Sereníssima Casa de Bragança), a style granted by the Pope. The style, however, does not seem to be used with the title of Prince Royal.
The current Infantes of Portugal (presently a republic) are Dom Henrique, Duke of Coimbra and Dom Miguel, Duke of Viseu (the brothers of Dom Duarte, Duke of Braganza, head of the Portuguese Royal House), and his younger children Dom Afonso, Prince of V, Dona Maria Francisca de Bragança, Infanta de Portugal and Dom Diniz, Duke of Porto. Dom Afonso de Santa Maria, Prince of Beira, the eldest son and heir apparent to the Portuguese Royal House, being born the Prince, is not styled Infante.
After its independence, Brazilian monarchy kept the use of Infante to indicate the siblings of the heir apparent. However, its use was gradually decreased since the official style for them was Princes of Brazil, distinguishing the Brazilian Infantes from the Imperial Prince of Brazil, the heir apparent, and the Prince of Grão-Pará, his/her eldest born son (or daughter). It should be noted that the Brazilian title of Prince of Brazil must not be confused with the former Portuguese homonym title.

Spanish infantes

In contemporary Spain, distantly related princes of the blood of the Spanish royal family are also granted the title. Note that infante is also used for a hereditary title of nobility, as in los infantes de Carrión in The Lay of the Cid.
The current Infantas of Spain are Leonor and Sofia (the daughters of Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia), Elena and Cristina (daughters of King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofía), and Pilar and Margarita (daughters of Juan de Borbón, Count of Barcelona). Carlos de Borbón, Duke of Calabria and King Juan Carlos' cousin, also holds the title of Infante of Spain. Prince Felipe, son of King Juan Carlos, is heir apparent to the Spanish throne and therefore Prince of Asturias.
infanta in Belarusian (Tarashkevitsa): Інфант
infanta in Bosnian: Infant
infanta in Czech: Infant
infanta in German: Infant
infanta in Spanish: Infante
infanta in French: Infant
infanta in Korean: 인판테
infanta in Italian: Infante
infanta in Latvian: Infants
infanta in Dutch: Infante
infanta in Polish: Infant
infanta in Portuguese: Infante
infanta in Russian: Инфант
infanta in Slovak: Infant
infanta in Swedish: Infant
infanta in Ukrainian: Інфант
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