Extraordinary and irrepressible, Duchess of Alba dies
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