Spain’s most prominent and eccentric aristocrat, the Duchess of Alba, died this morning due to complications resulting from pneumonia. She was 88 years old.
Never far from the public eye, the flamboyant Duquesa was most recently in the news concerning her marriage to long-time friend Alfonso Díez Carabantes, a civil servant 25 years her junior.
Aside from her emblematic style and eternal place in Spain’s history and culture, the Duchess is perhaps best known for her wealth (estimated at over $3.5 billion) and her lengthy title. According to Guinness World Records, she held the most recognized titles of nobility. Her full name with titles at the time of her death was (take a breath!):
The Most Excellent María del Rosario Cayetana Paloma Alfonsa Victoria Eugenia Fernanda Teresa Francisca de Paula Lourdes Antonia Josefa Fausta Rita Castor Dorotea Santa Esperanza Fitz-James Stuart, Silva, Falcó y Gurtubay, 18th Duchess of Alba de Tores, 11th Duchess of Berwick, 11th Duchess of Liria and Jérica, 12th Countess-Duchess of Olivares, 17th Marquise of the Carpio, 16th Marquise of La Algaba, 18th Marquise of Barcarrota, 10th Marquise of Castañeda, 23rd Marquise of Coria, 14th Marquise of Eliche, 16th Marquise of Mirallo, 20th Marquise of La Mota, 20th Marquise of Moya, 12th Marquise of Osera, 14th Marquise of San Leonardo, 19th Marquise of Sarria, 12th Marquise of Tarazona, 15th Marquise of Valdunquillo, 18th Marquise of Villanueva del Fresno, 17th Marquise of Villanueva del Río, 22nd Countess of Lemos, 20th Countess of Lerín, 20th Countess of Miranda del Castañar, 16th Countess of Monterrey, 20th Countess of Osorno, 19th Countess of Andrade, 14th Countess of Ayala, 16th Countess of Casarrubios del Monte, 16th Countess of Fuentes del Valdepero, 11th Countess of Fuentidueña, 17th Countess of Galve, 18th Countess of Gelves, 21st Countess of Modica, 25th Countess of San Esteban de Gormaz, 12th Countess of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, 20th Countess of Villalba, 12th Viscountess of la Calzada, 29th Lady of Moguer
…and that’s not even mentioning her many honors, appointments, and titles that had already been ceded to her children!
To her friends and fans, however, she was known simply as Cayetana.
And so we say vaya con Dios to this timeless character in both Spain and the world’s aristocratic history. A staunch supporter of Spanish traditions like bullfighting and flamenco, Cayetana was beloved for her spicy Andalusian flare well into her final days. Descanse en paz, Duqesa.
Can you even read the late aristocrat’s entire name? Try here…