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Luisa Isabel Álvarez de Toledo, the ‘Red Duchess’, with her unfaithful husband, Leoncio González, during their youth.
Luisa Isabel Álvarez de Toledo, the ‘Red Duchess’, with her unfaithful husband, Leoncio González, during their youth. / R. C

Aristocrat’s illegitimate child fights to claim her share of the inheritance

  • DNA evidence proves that Leoncio González is the father of his servant’s daughter, who now wants to claim her inheritance

Deceased aristocrat Leoncio González, the husband of of Luisa Isabel Álvarez of Toledo, who was popularly known as the ‘Red Duchess’ (La Duquesa Roja), was proven this week to have been the biological father of his servant’s illegitimate child, Rosario Bermudo.

Despite opposition from two out of three of the duke’s legitimate children, Leoncio González’s body was exhumed from the Palacio de Quintana Redonda cemetary in March, after Rosario, now 66 years old, demanded a paternity test.

After DNA obtained from the duke’s bones matched “99.99 per cent” of Rosario’s DNA, incontestably confirming the duke’s extramarital sexual relations with her servant mother, Rosario now believes she is entitled to a fifth of her biological father’s wealth.

On Monday, the lawyer of the servant’s daughter suggested that Rosario is now justifiably entitled to receive some inheritance: “After such overwhelming evidence, the trial (20 September in Madrid) will be a mere formality,” she commented, after the results of the National Toxicology Institute’s report were revealed.

Rosario’s lawyer also added that while the deceased duke’s total wealth has not been quantified in monetary terms, consisting mostly of property, land and art, her client could be staking her claim of more than two million euros worth of assets.

In the demand, the lawyer states that Rosario Bermudo was born on 4 February 1951 in Madrid “as a product of intimate extramarital relations between her mother” and Leoncio Gregorio González de Martí when she was working as a servant for the duke in one of his properties in Madrid.

“Logically, given the dates, my client doesn’t have a contract or document which proves that her mother was working there at the time,” she admits. But what she does have is “an old photograph, in black and white, which despite the poor quality” shows the husband of the ‘Red Duchess’ at a table with three women.

Rosario’s mother, “condemned and abandoned”, eventually married another man on 8 December 1956 and had another six children. Her husband accepted Rosario Bermudo as his own.