Back to Index

SPAIN: The monarchy and Infanta Beatriz Torlonia

David Seckler has sent me a long obituary of Infanta Beatriz Torlonia from It begins:"The Infanta Beatriz Torlonia, who died in Rome on Saturday aged 93, was the last surviving aunt of King Juan Carlos of Spain, and one of three remaining great-grandchildren of Queen Victoria. The elder daughter of King Alfonso and Queen Ena of Spain, the Infanta was born at San Ildefonso in Spain on June 22 1909. Her father had been born posthumously to King Alfonso XII, who had died six months before his son's birth, so Alfonso XIII was born a king, and grew up under the Regency of his mother, Queen Maria Cristina, until 1902. In 1906 he married Princess Victoria Eugenia (Ena), a morganatic Battenberg princess, whose mother was Queen Victoria's youngest daughter, and whose father, Prince Henry of Battenberg, had been obliged to live with his mother-in-law, Queen Victoria, in order that she consent to the union. (In 1895 he set off on the Ashanti expedition in West Africa, but succumbed to malaria before a shot was fired.) Thus Ena and her brothers spent their early years at Osborne, Windsor and Balmoral. She married the King of Spain, King Edward VII elevating her to the rank of Royal Highness before the ceremony. At the wedding, an assassin attempted to blow up the bridal carriage in which the royal pair were returning to the Palace.

A bomb was lobbed from a third floor window, engulfing the carriage in smoke, and the new Queen's bridal gown was spattered with the blood of a decapitated guardsman. Twenty-four men were killed, more than 100 wounded, and the future King George V noted ruefully in his diary that lunch was delayed until well after 3 pm".

RH: That old fool Pío Baroja loved to tell stories about such assassinations, This was one of the stories he told. At the end of the telling, he would say "IT's terrible, bit isn't it interesting!" The problem was that Ena carried hemophilia, and most of here children suffered from it. I was in Spain in 1931 when the Republic was proclaimed. One of the arguments for getting rid of the monarchy was that it was afflicted with this problem. The father of King Juan Carlos was free of it, and my understanding is that the problem no longer exists. In morganatic marriages, i.e. to a woman of lower rank, neither the wife nor the children may lay claim to the husband´s rank and property. I don`t know how this affected Ena.

Ronald Hilton - 11/28/02