The Duchess of Alba Turns 88
Doña María del Rosario Cayetana Fitz-James Stuart y Silva, 18th Duchess of Alba de Tormes, Grandee of Spain turned 88 on March 28th. Doña Cayetana was born in 1926 at the Palacio de Liria in Madrid, the only child of Don Jacobo Fitz-James Stuart y Falcó, 17th Duke of Alba and Doña María del Rosario de Silva y Gurtubay, Duchess of Alba.
The Alba family were very close to the Spanish Royal Family, and Queen Victoria Eugenia of Spain, wife of King Alfonso XIII, was godmother at her christening at the palace chapel on April 17th, 1926. Sadly in 1934, her mother died from tuberculosis in Madrid. Soon after this, the family were forced to flee Spain to Paris and later to London as the Spanish Civil War erupted. The family residence in Madrid, Palacio de Liria, was completely destroyed and lay in ruins. Her father was appointed Spanish Ambassador to the United Kingdom in 1936.
In 1947, the future Duchess married a Spanish noble, Don Luis Martínez de Irujo y Artázcoz, at Seville Cathedral, the marriage produced six children. In 1953, her father died and Cayetana became the 18th Duchess of Alba and head of the Ducal House of Alba. The Duchess had her Madrid residence rebuilt and restored to its former glory.
After her first husband died in 1972, the Duchess remarried in 1978 to a former priest, Jesus Aguirre y Ortiz, which caused controversy in the conservative Spain of that time. This union was childless, and sadly her second husband died in 2001, upon when the Duchess married for a third time in October 2011 to Alfonso Díez Carabantes, which caused a media sensation in Spain.
As per the Guinness Book of Records, the Duchess of Alba is the most titled noble woman in the world, there are over 40 of them and far too numerous to list in this entry!Filed under Spain
Tagged Biography, Birthday, Cayetana Fitz-James Stuart, 18th Duchess of Alba.