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SPAIN: Nobility - The Duque de Alba



Pedro Marín-Guzman clarifies (?!) the Alba mystery:

"The XVII Duque de Alba, Grande de España, Don Jacobo Fitz-James-Stuart y Falco, held several other titles in Spain. He was also Conde de Gelves, Conde Duque de Olivares, Conde de Palma del Rio, Duque de Arjona, Duque de Montoro, Duque de Huescar, Márques de la Algaba, Márques de Almenara, Márques del Carpio, Márques de Eliche, Márques de la Laguna, Márques del Valle de la Paloma, Márques de Villanueva del Rio and Vizconde de Jarafe. A number of these titles passed to the Fitz-James-Stuart family as relatives died without issue. It seems the late Duque's great grandfather was the 'lucky boy' who inherited most of the titles above. This Jacobo Fitz-James-Stuart was confirmed in 1902 into the oldest of all his titles, Duque de Arjona. The title was last held by Fadrique de Castilla, Conde de Trastamara in the middle ages. The origins of the Dukes of Alba can be traced from the Alvarez de Toledo clan, a mozarab family from Toledo. The earliest individual to whom reliable genealogy can be traced is a 13th century Garcia Alvarez de Toledo. The III Duke of Alva, general of King Felipe II, was a prominent fixture in the Spanish suppression of the Netherlands. [He is the only Alba known to most historians.RH]

As with all aristocratic titles, in Spain the power to dispense them is normally held by the Sovereign. Franco seems to have usurped this power on two occasions. Once - in 1950 - to bestow the title of Márques de Alboran on Francisco Moreno y Fernández, Admiral of the Navy; the other in 1972, to reclaim the title of Duque de Cadiz (with the added title of HRH) to the grandson of King Alfonso XIII, Alfonso de Borbón Dampierre. King Juan Carlos added one other title in 1981. The already celebrated Don Andres Segovia y Torres was the recipient of the title Márques de Salobreña.

Personally, I believe King Juan Carlos has perhaps shown exactly the way to administer what is otherwise an anachronistic practice: Reward people who enrich the nation's culture, demonstrate a love of humanity and improve our way of life".

My comment: At least the last sentence makes sense to me, and I agree. I suppose the Dukes friends called him Juanito. I think the list is incomplete, Berwick comes in somewhere. We still don't know why the late Duke was respected by intellectuals and writers. And, most important, who was the Red Duchess? Who? Who?

Ronald Hilton - 5/22/01


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