Friday, December 3, 2021

King Alfonso's battles with Aunt Eulalia


December 3, 1911

Infanta Eulalia of Spain is vehement in her criticism of her nephew, King Alfonso XII, who she said has not shown the "slighted recognition" for her son, who has "shown great patriotic devotion in Morocco," reports the New York Times.

She states that this is the last straw, and she has ordered the sale of her estates in Spain as she wants to live in the "strictest of privacy."

Eulalia, the youngest of the late Queen Isabel II, told the press: "I shall be much happier so for I can keep my personality."

Alfonso is also opposed to the Infanta's book, The Thread of Life.  Although she used the name Countess Avila," it is signed inside by Eulalia, Infanta of Spain.

Infanta Eulalia, who lives in Paris, received a telegram from the King regarding her new book.  "I am astonished to learn from the newspapers that you have published a book under the name of Countess Avila. I suppose this will cause you to suspend publication until I have taken cognizance of the contents and give my permission to publish."   

Her reply followed.  "I am greatly astonished that my book should be judged without being read. It is a thing that could only happen in Spain.  Never having a liking for court life, from which I have always held myself aloof, I take this opportunity to bid you good-bye, for, after this proceeding, which is worthy of the inquisition, I consider myself, so far as my private life is concerned, free to act as I deem fit."

The book is described as a "discursive, independent treatise on morality," with chapter headings including "The Development of Will Power," the "Complete Independence of Women, and "Equality of Classes by Education, Religion, and Marriage."

The Infanta has been described as a "radical feminist" and "royal moralist" who approves of divorce but believes it should be a "law based on justice, not, as often happens, on tacit agreement."

She also wrote: "Moral women are more moral, more virtuous, and more sober than men. " In another chapter, she stated: "It is said to be sufficient for [a] woman to be beautiful and a mother.  That is disguised as stupidity.  A woman, like a man, is entitled to the complete development of her faculties."

She also holds the view that a woman is equal to a man, and "should become his useful collaborate, without ceasing to be the generous companion of man in the joys and labors of life." 

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 Eulalia was born in 1864.  At age 22, she married her first Prince Antonio de Orléans y Borbon, the son of Antoine, Duke of Montpensier, and Infanta Luisa Fernanda of Spain, the younger sister of Queen Isabel.  

They have two sons, Infante Alfonso, 25, and 22-year-old Infante Luis Fernando.  Alfonso is married to Princess Beatrice of Edinburgh, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria, and Queen Victoria Eugenie's first cousin. 

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It is understood that Eulalia's marriage is one of convenience, and she and Prince Antonio have lived largely separate lives since shortly after the birth of their younger son.

Antonio accompanied his wife to the United States as she was the representative of the Spanish to the Chicago World's Fair in 1893.  The American press noted at that time that Eulalia paid little attention to her husband and "went about enjoying herself without much regard for him.

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