Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Infanta Eulalia's husband not present for Alfonso's coming of age celebrations

Don Antonio de Orléans-Borbon, husband of Infanta Eulalia of Spain, was "conspicuous by his absence from the coming of age festivities of his nephew, King Alfonso," reports the Marquise de Fontenoy in her latest column.

As an Infant of Spain, Don Antonio was extended an invitation, but his "presence would have been awkward in the extreme," as he is separated from his wife, Infanta Eulalia, who played a major role in the ceremony. 

She is a favorite of her nephew, King Alfonso, and much loved by the Spanish people.

Thankfully, Don Antonio had the "good sense" to stay away, with a "timely accident," suffering a sprained angle when he got out of his car in Paris.  This injury prevented him, with "great sorrow and regret," from traveling to Madrid to attend the king's celebrations.

Don Antonio divides his time between his estate in Italy and a mansion at 28 Boulevard des Invalides in Paris.  Infanta Eulalia also has home in the City of Lights at the Palais de Castille on Avenue Kleber, near the Arc de Triomphe.  She lives in a wing of the Palace, which is owned by her mother, Queen Isabel.

The marriage between Infanta Eulalia and her first cousin, Antonio, had been arranged by her brother, the late King Alfonso XII.  He had learned that Eulalia was in love with the secretary of a foreign mission in Madrid.  The young man was quickly transferred to a new post abroad.

King Alfonso XII feared that his sister might run off and elope with the young man so he quickly arranged a marriage with Infante Antonio, who is the son of Infanta Luisa and her French husband, the Duke of Montpensier.

The Duke was never popular in Spain. He never showed any gratitude toward his sister-in-law, Queen Isabel, who was his "benefactress."  He was responsible for the "cowardly killing" of Infante Enrique,  Duke of Seville, and was sentenced to one month in prison for killing Enrique in a duel. He refused to refrain from "political intrigues of one kind and another," and supported the insurgents in the Spanish Revolution of 1868, betraying his sister-in-law, Queen Isabel.

The late Duke, a son of King Louis Philippe, never received the "esteem of all the right minded people" in Spain or abroad.  He was so mean that was sued for the lace bridal veil that he had given to Infanta Eulalia when she married his son, as he refused to pay the bill.

When he died, his "colossal fortune" was divided between his two surviving children, Isabelle, the widow of the Count of Paris, and Don Antonio.   Another daughter, Mercedes, was the first wife of King Alfonso XII. She died in 1868, not long after the marriage.

Don Antonio is also known as the Duke of Galliera, a title once borne by a "great Genoese contractor and railroad builder." The late duke's widow bequeathed her fortune to the late Empress Friedrich, daughter of Queen Victoria, the city of Genoa, and Don Antonio.

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