Friday, December 2, 2011

Not a royal Borbon wedding

December 2, 1911

Although several newspapers have described the newly married Marie Christine of Bourbon as a princess,  the Marquise de Fontenoy's latest dispatch notes that she is not a royal princess.   Marie Christine, who recently married an Englishman, Leopold Walford, son of Mr. and Mrs. Walford of Shropshire, is the daughter of Don Francesco de Borbon, Duke of Marchena, and Countess Maria del Pilar de Muguiro y Beruete, Duchess de Villafranca.

Mr. Walford's father is the chairman of the Walford Lines Ltd, shipowners and of Leopold Walford Shipping Ltd.

The Duchess of Marchena is a "mere noblewoman by birth," and, although, the Duke of Marchena is the son of the "homely" Infant Sebastian and the "light headed and eccentric Infanta Cristina,  he is not styled as a royal or an infant of Spain.   His descent from the throne is so "remote as to extinguish the prerogatives and status of royalty in their offspring."

The only people in Spain who "have the right to the title of 'prince' are the full fledged scions of the reigning house.  They also have the title of Infante or Infanta.

The Duke of Marchena was not an infant of Spain, but he was created a duke by the late King Alfonso XII.  He is also a Grandee of Spain, and a knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece.

Maria Cristina is the eldest of the three daughters.  She will inherit her father's title when he dies, and will become the Duchess of Marchena.   Her parents have a home in Madrid, but their primary residence is in the Rue Dumont d'Urville in Paris.   The second daughter, Doña Elena died in 1910.  The youngest daughter, Maria de los Angelos, is unmarried.

The marriage between Doña Maria Cristina and Leopold Walford took place "quietly and unobtrusively on November 11 at the Church of St. Pierre de Chaillot" in Paris.

The Duke of Marchena has one surviving brother, Don Alfonso, who lives in Madrid in "the utmost retirement and seclusion, having inherited the weak mind of his mother, Infanta Cristina."   His two other brothers are deceased, including Don Pedro, Duke of Durcal, who came to the United States in 1887 "in the vain attempt to sell a collection of paintings said to have been made by his father, the Infant Sebastian."

But the collection turned out to be "transparent copies" of paintings or "works of art of inferior masters," that had no real artistic value.  The collection was sent back to France, and was eventually sold to pay the storage expenses.    The late Duke of Durcal settled in Paris with his Cuban wife and their three children.   He got into a series of "financial scrapes," and was disowned by his Spanish relatives.  He apparently killed himself the night before he was to be summoned for a "judicial account" involving "particularly  questionable transactions."   His wife and children were left "penniless."   The late Queen Isabel of Spain came to the family's assistance by securing an allowance for them from her daughter-in-law, Queen Maria Cristina, widow of Alfonso XII.

The Duke of Marchena's other brother, Don Luis, Duke of Ansola, also "succumbed to hard living."

Infant Sebastian was the son of Don Pedro, Infant of Spain and Portugal, the eldest son of Don Gabriel, Infant of Spain, and his wife, Infanta Maria Ana of Portugal.   Gabriel was the eleventh child of  King Carlos III and Princess Maria Amalia of Saxony.   Sebastian's wife, Infanta Cristina, was the 10th child of Infant Francisco de Paula of Spain and Princess Luisa of Borbon-Two Sicilies, who was also his niece.    Francisco was the fourteenth child of King Carlos IV and Princess Maria Luisa of Bourbon Parma.

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