October 22, 1904
The new heir presumptive to the Spanish throne is Don Alfonso of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, the three-year-old son of the late Infanta Maria del las Mercedes, who died on following the birth of a daughter.
Infanta Mercedes's official title was Princess of Asturias, as she was the heiress presumptive to the Spanish throne. It was a title she held from birth. Now succeeding her as heir presumptive to the 18-year-old King Alfonso XIII is Mercedes' eldest son.
It is not known if the little boy will be officially styled as the Prince of Asturias, which is Spain's only princely title. Royal children are styled as Infants of Spain. Infanta Mercedes's husband, Prince Don Carlos of Bourbon-Two-Sicilies was styled as Prince of the Asturias. He "bore the title by virtue of his consort's position" as heiress presumptive. He will no longer be styled as Prince of the Asturias, and will be probably be known as Infante Carlos of Spain.
The Chicago Tribune notes that Spain has sustained a great loss by the death of the young Infanta, who would have succeeded to the throne as Queen if her mother's third child, the posthumously born Alfonso XIII, was born a girl. King Alfonso XII died in October 1885, leaving behind a pregnant widow, Queen Maria Cristina, and two young daughters, Mercedes, and Maria Teresa.
Should King Alfonso XIII die before marrying and having children of his own, his nephew would reign as Alfonso XIV with "another long regency" until the new king reached his majority at age 18.
Under the terms of the constitution, the late Princess of Asturias' sisters, Infanta Maria Teresa would be the regent for her minor nephew, and not his father, Don Carlos. Infanta Maria Teresa, 22, is rumored to be engaged to her cousin, Prince Ferdinand of Bavaria. Maria Teresa, of course, has "no experience whatsoever pertaining to the position," and might be subject to the political influence of her husband, which could create an intolerable position for young Alfonso's father.
Thus, King Alfonso's life has become "doubly precious" to his subjects. At the moment, he enjoys a "greater degree of popularity than any of his predecessors on the throne." At no time in Spain's history has the "throne been more securely established than at the present moment, occupied by Alfonso XIII."