Ex­tra­or­di­nary and ir­re­press­ible, Duchess of Alba dies

The Star Early Edition - - WORLD -

MADRID: Spain’s 18th Duchess of Alba, who died yes­ter­day aged 88, was one of Europe’s wealth­i­est aris­to­crats, the owner of fab­u­lous palaces and price­less works of art.

She died after a short ill­ness, sur­rounded by fam­ily in the 14th cen­tury Pala­cio de Due­nas in Seville, fa­mous for its le­mon-tree-filled court­yards and her favourite of her many prop­er­ties.

Maria del Rosario Cayetana Al­fonsa Vic­to­ria Eu­ge­nia Fran- cisca Fitz-James Stu­art Silva was named by Guin­ness World Records as the world’s most ti­tled per­son.

She was 14 times a Span­ish grandee, five times a duchess, once a count­ess-duchess, 18 times a mar­chioness, 18 times a count­ess and once a vis­count­ess, ac­cord­ing to the Guin­ness en­try.

With her cloud of white hair and face moulded by plas­tic surgery, she was rarely out of the Span­ish gossip mag­a­zines, most re­cently on the arm of her third hus­band, 24 years her ju­nior.

The head of one of Spain’s old­est aris­to­cratic fam­i­lies, dat­ing back to the 1400s, and the third woman to hold the ti­tle of Duchess of Alba in her own right, her wealth is es­ti­mated at be­tween € 600 mil­lion (R8.2bn) and € 3.5 bil­lion.

Said her last hus­band, Al­berto Diez, shortly be­fore they were mar­ried: “To­gether we have a won­der­ful time. She’s al­ways ask­ing ‘What shall we do next?’ She’s un­stop­pable.” – Reuters

A LOVER OF LIFE: Spain’s Duchess of Alba

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