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SPAIN: Nobility - The Duque de Alba

Do you want to know more about the Alba genealogy? Pedro Marín Guzmán obliges:

"The wife of Don Jacobo Fitz-James-Stuart y Falco is/was Dńa. Maria Rosario de Silva y Gurtubay.Their daughter, Maria-Rosario-Cayetana FitzJames-Stuart y Silva is the current Duquesa de Alba de Tormes, Condesa-Duquesa de Olivares, etc., etc., she's married to Luis Martinez de Irujo y Artacoz. And with so many titles in tow (see my previous posting), it's anybody's guess as to why their family seat is in Avila. They certainly have a number of choices from Andalucia, to Toledo, to Avila, Madrid, etc,. etc. The Palacio de Liria, one of the finest in Madrid, was built in the 1770s by the English Duke of Berwick [I said Berwick came in somewhere! RH.], Jacobo Fitz-James-Stuart y Stolberg (great,great grandfather of the late Duque). It has a marvellous collection of paintings and Flemish tapestries. Nevertheless, I find it fascinating how all these different and historic families, over the last 200 years, lost the art of producing a surviving heir - either male or female, and thus had to amalgamate. Maybe it does have something to do with interbreeding, after all. "

My comment: We still don't know why the late duque was respected by writers and intellectuals. Anyhow, I find the Alba women more interesting. There is the mysterious Red Duchess. Then there are Goya's pictures of the maja, one of them naked, reclining on a couch. It is said that the model was a Duchess of Alba, something the family angrily denied. The idea that a Duchess would pose as a maja (a woman of the people) and be painted nude by an artist who was supposedly her lover would have been a blot of their complex escutcheon. Can any historian who specializes in these things tell us the truth? After all, I have been advised to read gossip magazines.

Ronald Hilton - 5/22/01