Tragedy of the Death of Juan Carlos's Brother Alfonso (1941-1956)

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May 8, 2003
Do you know anything about the tragic shooting accident in 1954, when Juan Carlos accidentally shot his younger brother. I have read something about it, and searched in the Internet about the occurance, but i have not found much. Of cource it was terrific thing to happen and perhaps not much of it is ever revealed in public. What a dreadful time it must have been to poor young Juan Carlos.
"Only King Juan Carlos will ever know what really happened on the evening before Good Friday, 1956. He was 18 and whiling away the holiday with his 14-year-old brother, Alfonso, in a bedroom of the exiled royal family's home in Estoril, Portugal. The blond "Don Alfonsito" had won a local junior golf tournament earlier in the day, gone to evening Mass and rushed up to the room to see the big brother who had come home for the holidays from military school.
According to an official statement from the royal household: "While His Highness, the Prince Alfonso, was cleaning a revolver with his brother, a shot went off which hit him in the forehead and killed him within a few minutes."

Which of the two royal brothers, if either, pulled the trigger may never be known but Juan Carlos himself was said at the time to have admitted to friends and family that he "felt responsible". As a military cadet. he would have been aware of the danger of loaded guns, as indeed would have Alfonso, already a keen hunter and marksman who had bagged a stag and proudly displayed its horns in the family home. Both, it seemed certain, would have been drilled not to clean loaded guns.

The two boys had been exceptionally close throughout their exiled childhood, while Franco ruled Spain, and no one doubted that young Alfonso's death had been a tragic accident.

Juan Carlos, friends said, was traumatised by the death of his only brother and never really got over it.

The shooting of March 29th, 1956, received little publicity under Franco's regime. But thousands of royalists took the risk of crossing to Portugal, many carrying bags of Spanish soil to throw on Alfonso's grave. Even after Franco's death and the resurgence of the monarchy, the shooting was played down in the media, and usually described as un accidente fortuito - a chance accident. Persistent reports from staff of the royal household at the time, however, referred to a pistol and shotgun, with the latter going off."
Thank you for the article Thissal. I had read about the incident here and there hearing bits and pieces but never a full account. I found the part about royalists risking the trip to Portugal to throw Spanish soil on Alfonso's grave particularly touching. The guilt and sadness King Juan Carlos must feel over his only brother's death must be immense to say the least. How tragic.
:huh: i thought alfonso was older.
No Alfonso is Younger, but, was his body later removed from Potugal and moved to Spain?

Alfonso XIII, Queen Victoria Eugenie and Infante Gonzalo have all been moved from their original resting places to the royal valts in El Escorial (sp). Why not Don Alfonso? Anyone know if his casket is waiting to be added to the royal vault in the Pavilion of Princes?

Any info would be great. Thanks,

New article on this topic in this months Royalty magazine. They interviewed people that were at the time of the tragedy and still are close friends of JC's apparently it was a prank that went wrong and that it was JC that fired the gun.
chanel said:
was his body later removed from Potugal and moved to Spain?
Yes. The young prince was burried in Portugal, but then moved to the Monastery of El Escorial, after the monarchy was restored in Spain.
Oh my God, that's terrible. I'm completely shocked. I'd never heard about Alfonsito's death before. I knew that he died young, but this:eek: So tragic, makes you wonder how this changes Juan Carlos' life!
What a horrible incident. It is amazing JC has coped as well as he has, given how close the two were and the circumstances surrounding his brother's death. No wonder this story is rarely repeated.
I haven't heard of it either. I knew there was some sort of incident but didn't know what exactly happened.
It must be terrible, to be in a way responsible for the death of a close person.
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It's interesting how these things get coloured and twisted and changed over the course of time. Here in Finland, when the King last time visited, it was told that it was a) a rifle, b) JC was cleaning it and it accidentally fired, c) Alfonso was in the next room and the bullets went through a closed door, hitting him and d) it happened in El Escorial. It was also said that the King was a happy fellow before and wanted to join the church after - it was an absolutely terrifying experience to him. And no wonder.

There were several pictures of the entire Royal Family in the annoversary edition of the Spanish magazine Semana, including many of the young Alfonso. Let's see if I'll come around and post them.
I have always wondered why is living such a reckless life in regard to his affairs. This story may hold some of the insight.
Martínez Inglés, the self-proclaimed 'nightmare of the Spanish royal family' has requested the Portuguese public prosecuter to start an investigation about the death of Prince Alfonso.

Some new claims of Ingles: Juan Carlos already owned a 6.35 caliber pistol, years before the accident happened and the day before the death of Alfonse JC shot at the street lights with the thing. Ingles also wants to know why prince Juan said 'swear me that you didn't do it on purpose'.

Ingles already announced that he will not give up his search for the truth, even if the Portuguese public prosecutor will not help him. Note that Ingles 72 y/o ex-colonel who resents the king for his role in the militairy coup of 1981, Ingles says the king knew of the plans of the coupe. He also appeared armed and in uniform at the Almudena cathedral, just before the wedding ceremony of Felipe & Letizia started.

Source: De Volkskrant
reading the 2nd post made my blood run cold. such a terrible thing to have to live with.
why cant this person just let the past remain just that, the past?!!?!
It's a nonsense to restart the investigation, more then 50 years later...
It's a nonsense to restart the investigation, more then 50 years later...

Absolutely. A terrible tragedy. A dearly loved youngest son killed in a terrible accident. It could have happened to anyone. He is at rest and has been for 50 years leave the matter be.
many people tell their own story but the king has never publicly spoke about it and after he accidently killed his brother the royal family was devasted the countess of barcelona was sent ot rehab because she was drinking the count sent his now only son back to spain cause it was hard for him and juan carlos started having girlfriends and he spend most of his time with his favorite pet monkey then after that he try to regain his parent full affection when he started courting the italian princess maria gabriella di savoia but neither his parent nor franco show any sign of approval since the king of italy had little chance to regain his throne and castro fear of the views of maria gabriella was that he though she was too liberals but franco never consider princess sophia of greece since he believe sophia father king paul was a freemason and a orthodox greek
:previous: Do you know anything about how the two sisters reacted?
Actually there was documental about this a couple of weeks ago on the Discovery Channel (that left me totally spechless btw). I'll tell you guys in advance, it's a very shocking and harsh documental about the King, among other many things said, there's a man that affirms that King Juan Carlos killed his brother on purpose because the Count of Barcelona was thinking about giving Juan Carlos rights' to the throne to Alfonsito, because he was afraid JC would follow Franco's leadership style.
This guy (that makes very severes accusations), says that JC knew exactly how a gun worked because we was on the army, and also states that by the angle the bullet was shot it was impossible that it was an accident.

PS: I don't agree with this information at all, and I don't support this man's point of view at all Im just resuming to you guys (a lot) what the documental is about.
The death of a loved one can be a very traumatic and tragic event, it might have been an accident or it might not have been we will never know only JC knows he might have thought that the gun was not loaded then decided not to check it, opening up an investigation into the death of a person that happened more then fifty years ago is ridiculous when it comes to people that are royality they are not going to put there family and privacy on the line. I will always believe that the truth lies with the deceased and the person who accidental killed or did not accidentally kill a person in general.:flowers:
Well one thing we can all be sure on. JC will have a healthy respect for guns.

How very sad to lose a brother
I never ever knew about this. Thanks for anyone who came with information!
IMHO, I would like to say, that I have great respect for the Spanish Royal Family; they are all very courageous and brave.
It would seem rather pointless to open an investigation up now since so many of the witnesses are deceased. And if the investigation revealed that the king of Spain was a murderer, could (or would) any further actions be taken? My guess is that no prosecution would be pursued.

And just to clarify what I think... I don't think the young Juan Carlos intentionally killed his brother.
We were spending holidays in Portugal (my Father´s country) when this tragedy happened. As the SRF lived in Estoril, which is very close to Lisbon, we had passed several times by their home. At the time, I remember vividly that it was treated as an accident, that happened when the two brothers were cleaning a gun.I´ll never believe JC would have killed his brother. The whole family was devastated by this tragedy.
It is very sad what happened then. I don't think King Juan Carlos killed his brother, I think this was an accident.
That was soo long ago. A half a century has passed and I think there is timeframe where no one can re-open the case because of the length of time. Does anybody know how the statute of limitations is applicable in Europe ?
Clearly an accident and that was ascertained at a time when an incident such as this one would have been more severly punished than today. I see it as pointless to dredge the depths with it again.
The job of kings' is to keep and protect justice. So many have turned a blind eye to the lack of it for the poor. As the Spanish say, "With the rich and powerful always a little patience." If we allow untruths to persist then it says a great deal about our morality. The shooting accident was excatly that, but if there is evidence to the contrary then of course it should be heard.
There was never any shroud of doubt that it was anything but an accident.

I've never heard the theory that the CoB was thinking of passing his rights to Alfonsito as he feared that JC was being dominated by Franco.
Besides, the CoB could not jump the succession line as it pleased him.

It was indeed an unfortunate accident, and, on the first line, there is one person to blame:
The Countess of Barcelona.

The Count was a rigid man who had forbidden his sons to play with guns, namely inside the house.
The kids knew that he kept the gun in a locked cabinet and asked their mother the key.
With a certain reluctance, foolishly she agreed, and gave them the key.
While playing with the gun, JC accidentally fired it against Alfonsito.

The Countess was in deep shock when she heard the shot.

Don Juan ran to the room where the little Infant was already dead and made JC sware on the Bible that he hadn't done it on purpose (maybe that's the reason for the story told at the TV doc.).

In a rage, D.Juan left their house, Villa Giralda in Monte Estoril, sat on his car and drove to the cliffs in Cascais - Boca do Inferno "Hell's Mouth" - where he threw the gun to the ocean never to be found.

A couple of days after the funeral, he embarked with some portuguese friends on a yacht and cruised the Atlantic for some weeks.

Meanwhile the Countess was admitted in a psychiatric clinic in Germany as a result of a severe nervous breakdown.

I've often thought of the destiny of the two Infantas on those days, who were left alone, their father at sea, the mother in a psychiatric clinic, one brother dead and the other back in Spain to follow his studies...

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