surinenglish

5th October 2011: The Duchess of Alba marries Alfonso Díez

The Duchess of Alba dances with Alfonso Díez Carabantes.
The Duchess of Alba dances with Alfonso Díez Carabantes. / AFP
  • The wedding took place at 1.15pm in the chapel of the Palacio de las Dueñas in Seville where 38 guests witnessed the ceremony

On Wednesday 5 October 2011, Spain's Cayetana Fitz-James Stuart y Silva, the 18th Duchess of Alba, married her third husband, the civil servant Alfonso Díez Carabantes.

The wedding took place at 1.15pm in the chapel of the Palacio de las Dueñas in Seville where 38 guests witnessed the ceremony. They included four of the duchess's six children from her first marriage to Luis Martínez de Irujo y Artázcoz (1919-1972), son of the Duke of Sotomayor. Three of the duchess's ten siblings also attended the wedding.

Her son, Jacobo, Count of Siruela, famously went to Paris instead of attending his mother's wedding, after she insulted his wife, the journalist Inka Martí, on live television before the event, calling her "a jealous liar". Her daughter Eugenia was unable to attend as she was ill with chickenpox.

The Duchess, then 85, wore a pink dress made of silk and lace with a lime-green velvet bow, created by Seville-based designers, Victorio & Lucchino. One of the most memorable photographs of the day was the Duchess dancing with her new husband, 25 years her junior, after the ceremony.

Bouquet

A 22-year-old nurse from Seville grabbed the headlines when she caught the bride's bouquet. María Dolores told the press that she had arrived at the palace early in order to guarantee a good spot to see the Duchess. "I have a boyfriend and we have talked about getting married," the young nurse told the world's press after catching the flowers.

Titles

The duchess and her new husband had known each other for a long time before the announcement of their wedding, which followed a three-year relationship. Díez Carabantes had been a friend of Cayetana's previous husband, Jesús Aguirre, who died in 2001.

With over 40 hereditary titles, the Duchess of Alba was the most titled aristocrat in the world, according to the Guinness Book of Records.

She was a descendant of England's King James II, although through illegitimate lineage. She was also a distant relative of the Churchill and Spencer families, making her related to both Winston Churchill and Lady Diana.

Her foreign titles include Dame Grand Cross of the Order of Beneficence with the Greek royal family, Dame Grand Cross of Justice of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies and in Japan she was known as Wisteria Dame of the Order of the Precious Crown, 4th Class. She held the Anglo-Spanish title of Duchess of Berwick, giving her links with the town of Berwick-on-Tweed on the English-Scottish border.

The Duchess of Alba died on 20 November 2014, aged 88 at the Palacio de las Dueñas, leaving Alfonso Díez a widower. She was succeeded by her son Carlos Fitz-James Stuart, 14th Duke of Huéscar, who became the 19th Duke of Alba.