Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Royal Marriage: Spain-Bavaria


January 10, 1906

Infanta Maria Teresa, the only surviving sister, of King Alfonso XIII of Spain, will be married in two days to Prince Ferdinand of Bavaria.  According to the Marquise de Fontenoy,  Prince Ferdinand has "divested himself of his German citizenship and secured letters of naturalization as a Spaniard."
In October, he was grated the rank of Infant of Spain.

Ferdinand, 22, was "splendidly brought up and is a pleasant looking,
stalwart, unaffected lad," but this marriage has not met with "universal approval," on the grounds that the couple are first cousins.

Infanta Maria Teresa is "far from strong," and she has inherited the "delicacy of constitution which was so largely responsible for the premature deaths of her father, Alfonso XII, and her elder sister."

Under the circumstances, it may have been better if Ferdinand were not so closely related as the Infanta is in the line of succession to the throne.  She third in line after her nephew, Infante Alfonso, 4, and 11-month-old niece, Infanta Isabel Alfonsa, the children of her late sister, the Princess of Asturias. 

Prince Ferdinand does have one advantage, "in the eyes of the people of Spain."  He is not seen as a foreigner, despite being a Prince of Bavaria.  His mother, Infanta Paz, was the one of the younger daughters of the late Queen Isabel, and her husband Prince Louis Ferdinand of Bavaria, "famous throughout continental Europe as a gynecologist."   He, too, is half-Spanish, as his mother was the "eccentric Infanta Amelia of Spain, who died last summer."

If King Alfonso XIII dies before marriage and parenthood,  Infanta Maria Teresa, would become "by the terms of the constitution," regent for her young nephew, Alfonso, even if King Alfonso left a widow.

The Spanish constitution "expressly provides" that in the event of a minor sovereign, the regency shall be "entrusted to the nearest adult agnate who is a prince or princess of the blood in Spain."  Thus, after the death of the late King Alfonso XII, the regency should have gone to his eldest sister, Infanta Isabel, and not to his widow, Queen Maria Cristina.

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