The Monument to Alfonso XII is, given its size and grandeur, the most important structure existing both in the Retiro Park and in the city of Madrid. Its construction is the result of the wishes expressed by Queen Maria Cristina, widow of King Alfonso XII, making a building in memory of the late king.
A competition where architects submit their designs was held and it is the work “Maria Cristina” by the Barcelona architect José Grases Riera that triumphs. His project began in 1885 and was inaugurated in 1911.
José Grases Riera, was the only participant to mention an appropriate place for its construction. It proposes the old pier of the Madrid park, El Retiro, a beloved place for Alfonso XII and where on the December 31, 1879 was honored spontaneously by citizens who were present, as he walked alone and unescorted as was his custom.