Friday, November 21, 2014

Royal Profile: Maria del Rosario Cayetana Fitz-James Stuart, 18th Duchess of Alba

Maria del Rosario Cayetana Fitz-James Stuart y de Silva, 18th Duchess of Alba  was born 28 March 1926 as the only child of The 17th Duke of Alba and his wife, María del Rosario de Silva y Gurtubay, 9th Marchioness of San Vicente del Barco.

She was one of the godchildren of Queen Victoria Eugenia of Spain {Source}. In addition to being distantly related to King Juan Carlos (I *believe* they were something like 4th cousins), she is also distantly related to many British/Scottish notable people including: King James II, Winston Churchill and Diana, Princess of Wales {Source}.

According the the Guinness Book of World Records, she is the most titled person in the world {Source}. She is 14 times a Spanish grandee, 5 times a duchess, once a countess-duchess, 18 times a marchioness, 18 times a countess and once a viscountess{Source}. This is due to the complicated combinations of nationalities and marriages intertwined within her ancestry{Source}. Her most senior title is The Duchess of Alba, which she inherited at her father's death in 1955. Her son, Carlos has now inherited her many titles.

As head of the 539-year-old House of Alba, her privileges include not having to kneel before the pope and the right to ride on horseback into Seville cathedral{Source}.

She has been married numerous times, only one of which resulted in any children. Her first husband was Don Luis Martinez de Irujo y Artázcoz (1919-1972), he is the father of her six children. Each of their children has their own titles, as given by their mother. Their children and grandchildren, as well as great-grandchildren are:
  1. Carlos Fitz-James Stuart, 14th Duke of Huéscar, 19th Duke of Alba (1948).
    1. Fernando Juan Fitz-James Stuart y Solís (1990) 
    2. Carlos Arturo José María Fitz-James Stuart yr Solís (1991) 
  2. Alfonso Martínez de Irujo y Fitz-James Stuart, 16th Duke of Aliaga (1950)
    1. Luis Martínez de Irujo y Hohenlohe (born 29 May 1978). 
    2. Javier Martínez de Irujo y Hohenlohe (born 9 January 1981).
      1. He married Inés Domecq y Fernández-Govantes in 2008, and they have two children:
        1. Sol Martínez de Irujo y Domecq (born 2011)
        2. Alfonso Martínez de Irujo y Domecq (born 2013)
  3. Jacobo Fitz-James Stuart y Martínez de Irujo, 23rd Count of Siruela (1954)
    1. Jacobo Fitz-James Stuart y Fernández de Castro (born 23 January 1981).
      1. He married Asela Pilar Pérez Becerril on 14 May 2011, one daughter: 
        1. Asela Fitz-James Stuart y Pérez (2012). 
    2. Brianda Eugenia Fitz-James Stuart y Fernández de Castro (1984) 
  4. Fernando Martínez de Irujo, 11th Marquis of San Vicente del Barco (1959). 
  5. Cayetano Martínez de Irujo y Fitz-James Stuart, 13th Count of Salvatierra (1963)
    1.  He married Genoveva Casanova y González They separated in 2007, but have twin children: 
      1. Luis Martínez de Irujo y Casanova (2001) 
      2. Amina Martínez de Irujo y Casanova (2001) 
  6. Eugenia Martínez de Irujo, 12th Duchess of Montoro (1968)
    1. She was marred  Francisco Rivera Ordóñez from 1998-2002, and they have one daughter:
      1. Cayetana Rivera y Martínez de Irujo (1999)
After her husband died in 1972, she remarried in 1978 to Jesús Aguirre y Ortiz de Zárate (1934-2001), they had no children together. In 2008, it was speculated that she would soon announce she was ready to wed a public relations excutive who was 24 years her junior. At the time, she denied the claims, stating that  the relationship "was based on a long friendship and there are no plans to marry"{Source}. There were reports of objections of the union from her children and King Juan Carlos, but in spite of these objections, she was married in 2011 to Alfonso Díez Carabantes. She allegedly softened her children's objections by having her husband renounce his claims to her wealth and granting them their inheritances early {Source}

During her lifetime, she attended many VIP funtions, both in Spain and aboard. She was known to have VIP visitors such as Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Princess Grace and Prince Rainier (their son was also her godbrother! They shared the same godmother). She was also the host of many fashion charity parties. She also graced the covers of Time and Harper's Bazaar.

The Duchess died in the Palacio de las Dueñas on November 20, 2014, at the age of 88. She was survived by her last husband, her six children, nine grandchildren and three great-grandchildren {Source}. She was succeeded by her son Carlos Fitz-James Stuart, 14th Duke of Huéscar, who thus became the 19th Duke of Alba. After her death, her body laid in repose at the Town Hall of Seville, where those who wished to pay their respects could. King Juan Carlos reportedly telephoned The 19th Duke of Alba to pay his respects, and sent two flower crowns to Seville. During her funeral services on Friday, the Spanish Royal Family was represented by Infanta Elena of Spain, The Duchess of Lugo {Source}{Photos}. 

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