Sunday, February 28, 2016

King Alfonso XIII dead at 54

February 28, 1941

Former King Alfonso XIII of Spain's "amazing struggle for life ended peacefully at 11:50 o'clock this morning in his room" at Rome's Grand Hotel, according to the New York Times.  He was 54 years old.

He died in the presence of his wife, Queen Victoria Eugenia, his two surviving sons, Don Jaime and Don Juan, and his elder daughter, Infanta Beatriz.  His younger daughter, Infanta Maria Cristina, is expecting her first child and was unable to travel from her home in Turin.

Alfonso suffered from heart disease for some time.  Another "sharp attack" of angina pectoris  occured at 10 a.m., which began seventeen days ago.  This final attack proved too much for his "weakened condition.

Although he had been in exile since 1931, when Spain was declared a republic,  Alfonso, in death, is "receiving the honors due a monarch."  His Chamberlain has notified the Italian royal family, the Vatican, and Generalissimo Franco in Madrid.

The King "loved life, and loved it to the hilt."  A few days ago, he told a family member "I do not want to die."

His third son,  Infante Don Juan, the Count of Barcelona, will succeed him.  Several hours before his death,  the King told his Chamberlain, that "I hope my coming death will not be too distressing to Don Juan, but he must learn now that Kings must be brave."

Alfonso believed that the monarchy would be restored in Spain, and his son would sit on the throne.

Don Juan has refused to be called "Your Majesty," and will continue to be styled as "Your Royal Highness.  He met with officials to plan his father's funeral.

In Madrid, the Franco government announced that they have given permission for the late king to be buried in the royal pantheon at the Escorial. Generalissimo Franco has ordered Spanish flags to half-staff for three days of mourning for the former king.

King Alfonso XIII was born a king on May 7, 1886, six months after the death of his father, King Alfonso XII.  His mother, Queen Maria Cristina, an Archduchess of Austria by birth, was named Regent until he reached his majority.   In May 1906, he married Princess Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria.  They had seven children.

All images are from the Marlene A. Eilers-Koenig Collection
The late king is survived by his widow,  two sons and two daughters  and several grandchildren, including the Count of Barcelona's son, three-year-old Don Juan Carlos, who becomes the de jure Prince of Asturias.

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