The construction of the palace began in the late 1500s during the reign of Felipe II, the same king for whom the palace at El Escorial was constructed. Some of the same elements can be seen in the two palaces, yet the one at Aranjuez has much more ornamentation. This is largely due to the fact that it was not completed until the mid-1700s under the reign of Fernando VI. The palace served as a residence for the Spanish monarchs until Isabel II (who reigned from 1833, when she was three, to 1868, when she was ousted during a military uprising).
I toured the interior of the palace which was decorated with many objects belonging to the Spanish monarchs. On display were the carriages of Fernando VI, the ornate abanicos (the famous collapsible fans) of Isabel II, the automobile of Alfonso XIII, and the wedding gown of the current princess, Letizia. The rooms were quite impressive, especially a study known as the porcelain room in which the walls were made of porcelain with Chinese-themed ornamentation.
Outside the palace were the equally impressive palace gardens which included a stream full of ducks and geese, a man-made waterfall, fountains, statues, exotic birdcages, and various garden ornaments:
I was amusued for a while, watching this duck repeatedly submerge its head beneath the flowing waters of the falls:
I'll post more soon about my trip to Paris this past weekend.