Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A marriage for a 5-year-old infanta

November 30, 1885

Don Carlos's recent manifesto "promising to confirm to the Spaniards all their present civil and religious liberties," is being seen as a "direct bid" for the throne, reports the New York Times.

The manifesto's declaration is also being interpreted as a "prelude to a proposal of marriage" of Don Carlos' son,  Jaime, and the Princess of Asturias, the elder daughter of the late King Alfonso XII of Spain.  This marriage would take place "in the event of no heir to the throne being born."  

It is said that Carlists and Spanish monarchists would welcome "such a settlement with acclamation," as it would end 50 years of conflict in Spain. 

Prince Jaime was born June 27, 1870.  The Princess of Asturias, whose christian name is Marie de las Mercedes, was born on September 11, 1880.

King Alfonso XII died on November 25.  His illness was first reported on October 20.  At that time, the Spanish court were "much alarmed by his paleness, lassitude and enunciation."  Several days later, the king was feeling much better and attended the Autumn race meeting in Madrid on October 25.

Late on the afternoon of November 24, the Spanish Minister in Washington received a dispatch from the Minister of Foreign Affairs in Madrid stating that the King was ill with "a violent disorder of respiratory organs." 

King Alfonso XII died the following morning.  The cause of death of was "consumption accelerated by dysentery."

Queen Maria Cristina was said to be "completely prostrated by his death."   

The king's elder daughter, Mercedes, "will be queen" under a regency headed by Queen Maria Cristina, according to a telegram from Madrid.  It was not publicly known at the time of Alfonso's death that his wife was pregnant with the couple's third child, which is why it was assumed that Maria Cristina would act as a regent for the young Queen Mercedes.  But as Queen Maria Cristina was pregnant, the succession to the throne would have to wait until she gave birth.   The birth of a third daughter would make Mercedes the Queen Regnant, while the birth of a son would mean a new king, and Mercedes would remain as the Princess of Asturias until her younger brother married and fathered a legitimate heir.

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