Grandee , (Span. grande de Espana), the highest rank of Spanish nobility. The grandees of Spain were the great nobles descended from the ancient chief feudatories of the crown, and from members of the royal family. They had the right to levy soldiers under their own banner, were free from taxes, and could not be subjected to the jurisdiction of any civil or criminal court without the express command of the king. They also claimed the right to make war upon the king without incurring the guilt of treason. As the power of the monarch increased, the privileges of the grandees were restricted, till little was left but the right of wearing their hats in the royal presence, and of being saluted by the guards at the royal palace. The Spanish grandees considered themselves superior in rank to all the other nobility of Europe, and second only to princes of royal blood. On public occasions the order of precedence placed them next to the high prelates. Many of the grandees had no title; others had the titles of count, marquis, and duke, and some possessed enormous estates. Among the richest were the dukes of Medina Celi, Alva, Ossuna, Altamira, Infantado, and Arcos. The duke of Arcos, in the latter part of the 18th century, maintained 3,000 servants.
The grandees have no privileges now.