The Duchess of Alba, one of Spain’s richest and most flamboyant women, has got married again at the age of 85 to a civil servant 24 years her junior. The aristocrat married Alfonso Diez Carabantes at a palace in Seville, emerging to throw her wedding bouquet into the crowd and dance flamenco. She wore a salmon-pink knee-length dress with moss-green sash. The duchess, who has a record number of noble titles, had to overcome her children’s suspicions about the union. According to Guinness World Records, the duchess – whose full name is Maria del Rosario Cayetana Alfonsa Victoria Eugenia Francisca Fitz-James Stuart y de Silva – has more titles recognised by an existing government than any other noble.
She has wealth to match, with estates, palaces and treasures including art masterpieces estimated to be worth up to 3.5bn euros (£3bn; $4.7bn). At her first wedding in 1947, 1,000 guests watched the 21-year-old bride, wearing gems even then worth $1.5m, marry Luis Martinez de Irujo y Artazcoz. The New York Times reportedly called it “Spain’s most elaborate social event since the end of the monarchy”.
Just a few dozen friends and relatives attended Wednesday’s lunchtime service in the chapel of the duchess’s 15th Century Palacio de las Duenas in Seville. The twice-widowed aristocrat met her new husband, a social security administration employee, through her second husband, a former priest who died in 2001. The couple bumped into each other about three years ago outside a cinema in Madrid and eventually started dating, the Associated Press news agency reports. Before her wedding, the duchess spoke candidly of the travails she faced overcoming her children’s objections. “They don’t want me to marry, but they change partners more often than I do,” the duchess previously said about her children, according to the UK’s Daily Telegraph.
“The tough part was that my children didn’t understand and they got quite angry with me. “It’s true that I planned to marry. We were both full of enthusiasm for the idea. I took a step back for my children. I saw that everything was going to be very complicated.” To allay their suspicions of her prospective husband, she divided up her wealth between her six children and grandchildren, and Mr Diez has reportedly also relinquished his rights to her fortune. Many Seville residents, however, supported the duchess’s decision to marry for a third time. “Age has nothing to do with it – as long as there is love, that’s the most important thing,” Seville resident Concepcion Arrincon told AFP news agency. – BBC