Jaime de Marichalar y Sáenz de Tejada was born in Pamplona (Navarre), on April 7th 1963, being the fourth of six children of Concepcion Saenz de Tejada y Fernandez de Bobadilla and Amalio de Marichalar y Bruguera, a colonel of artillery and Count of Ripalda. The title was granted to the family in 1699, what makes him a member of one of the most traditional families in Spain (his grandfather was mayor of Madrid and Minister of War, under king Alfonso XIII), whose shield exhibits the following inscriptions: “Faithful to the King, God and the Nation”.
Grown under a rigid military discipline (during the vacations they spent in Sória, his father is said to wake up the children with a whistle, at six in the morning, so they could start the day practising exercise...), Jaime de Marichalar made his studies at the Jesuit schools in Burgos, San Estanislao de Kostka, in Madrid, and Yago School in Dublin, Ireland, due to what he’s fluent in English and French. Later on, his higher education focused on Economics, specialisation in Business Management and Marketing. In 1986, he gained work experience in a series of financial businesses companies in Paris, where he lived as a bachelor and during the early years of marriage.
Photo: courtesy of the Spanish Royal House Website
In 1987, Jaime was working for a Parisian bank, when he was introduced to the eldest daughter of King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia. Elena was then in Paris to study French and she lived with a friend, who was still a relative of Jaime. Day after day, a love story increasingly rose between the two of them, culminating in the engagement, announced in November 1994. The wedding took place on March 18th, 1995, at the Cathedral of the Andalusian capital, Seville. It was the first royal wedding to take place in Spain, since 1906.
After a number of years working in the international financial markets sector (the National Bank and afterwards the Suisse Credit of Paris), in January 1998 he was appointed Managing Director's Senior Advisor for Suisse Credit in Madrid, where the Duke and Duchess of Lugo have lived since then. He is also President of the Winterthur Foundation, which promotes cultural activities.
In December 2001, he suffered a cerebral infarct, which caused him a paralysis of the left side of his body, being assisted in the hospital Gregorio Marañón. Since then, he has been receiving physiotherapy treatments, which will thankfully enable him to practise again some of his favourite sports: ski, tennis and horse riding.
Besides, Jaime de Marichalar is fond of reading, heraldry, XVI and XVIII centuries’ art and classic music (especially Vivaldi), as well as a passionate lover for ballet and fashion, being famous for attending the main fashion shows of Paris, where he himself picks up clothes for his wife. In fact, some observers of the Royal House, agree that it was due to the Duke of Lugo that Infanta Elena managed to remarkably improve her looks, for what she’s considered today one of the most elegant women in Spain.