Alfonso XIII of Spain
|Reign||17 May 1886 – 14 April 1931|
(President of the Republic)
Juan Carlos I
(King of Spain in 1975)
|Spouse||Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg|
|Alfonso, Prince of Asturias
Jaime, Duke of Segovia
Beatriz, Princess of Civitella-Cesi
Infanta Maria Christina, Countess of Marone
Infante Juan, Count of Barcelona
|Alfonso León Fernando María Jaime Isidro Pascual Antonio de Borbón y Austria-Lorena|
|House||House of Bourbon|
|Father||Alfonso XII of Spain|
|Mother||Maria Christina of Austria|
17 May 1886|
|Died||28 February 1941
Alfonso XIII (Spanish: Alfonso León Fernando María Jaime Isidro Pascual Antonio de Borbón y Habsburg-Lorena; English: Alphonse Leon Ferdinand Mary James Isidor Pascal Anthony of Bourbon and Habsburg-Lorraine; 17 May 1886 – 28 February 1941) was King of Spain from 1886 until 1931.
Alfonso was monarch from birth, as his father Alfonso XII had died the previous year. Until his 16th birthday in 1902, his mother, Maria Christina of Austria, served as his regent, in a period which saw Spain lose its Caribbean and Pacific colonies during the Spanish-American War. Due to family ties to both sides, Alfonso kept his kingdom neutral during the First World War (1914-1918).
From 1923 to 1930, Alfonso gave dictatorial powers to his Prime Minister, Miguel Primo de Rivera. The king was deposed the following year by the Second Spanish Republic, but retained his claim to the throne in exile in Rome, Italy, until 1941, when he abdicated in favour of his son Juan, Count of Barcelona. Alfonso died six weeks later and a period of mourning was observed in Francoist Spain.
Birth and regency
Alfonso was born in Madrid, posthumously born son of Alfonso XII of Spain, and became King of Spain upon his birth. The French newspaper Le Figaro described the young king as "the happiest and best-loved of all the rulers of the earth". His mother, Maria Christina of Austria, served as his regent until his 16th birthday. During the regency, in 1898, Spain lost its colonial rule over Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Philippines as a result of the Spanish-American War.
When he came of age in 1902, the week of his majority was marked by festivities, bullfights, balls and receptions throughout Spain.
Engagement and marriage
Alfonso met Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg while on a state visit to the United Kingdom in 1905, where he was hosted at Buckingham Palace by her uncle, King Edward VII of the United Kingdom. Obstacles to the relationship included Alfonso's mother, who desired that he married a member of her royal house, the Habsburgs; the presence of haemophilia in the genes of the British royal family; and Victoria's Protestantism. However, Maria Christina was eventually convinced by January 1906 to write an official letter to Victoria's mother, Princess Beatrice. Victoria met Maria Christina and Alfonso in Biarritz, France, later that month, and converted to Catholicism in San Sebastian in March of that year.
In May, diplomats of both kingdoms officially executed the agreement of marriage. Alfonso and Victoria were married at the Royal Monastery of San Jerónimo in Madrid on 31 May 1906, with British royalty including Victoria's cousins the Prince and Princess of Wales (later King George V and Queen Mary in attendance. The wedding was marred by an assassination attempt on Alfonso and Victoria by the Catalan anarchist Mateu Morral, whose bomb killed bystanders.
On 10 May 1907, the couple's first child, Alfonso, Prince of Asturias, was born. However, during his circumcision, the Prince bled continuously, because his mother was a haemophilia carrier and he had inherited the condition. Of the five daughters born to the King and Queen, none of them were haemophilia carriers, but another of their sons, Gonzalo, lived with the condition. Alfonso distanced himself from his Queen for transmitting the condition to their children.
First World War
During the First World War, because of his family connections with both sides and the division of popular opinion, Spain remained neutral. The King ran an office for captives from the Royal Palace, which leveraged the Spanish diplomatic and military network abroad to intercede for thousands of prisoners-of-war, receiving and answering letters from Europe. However, he became gravely ill during the 1918 flu pandemic and, since Spain was neutral and thus under no wartime censorship restrictions, his illness and subsequent recovery were covered worldwide, giving the false impression (in the absence of real news from anywhere else) that Spain was the most-affected area. This ultimately led to the pandemic getting the nickname "the Spanish Flu."
Rif War and Primo de Rivera
Following the First World War, Spain entered the lengthy yet successful Rif War (1920-1926) to preserve its colonial rule over northern Morocco. Dissenters of the monarchy, who felt that the war caused an unforgivable loss of money and soldiers, nicknamed Alfonso el Africano (the African). A military coup led by General Miguel Primo de Rivera in 1923 saw him become Alfonso's dictatorial Prime Minister until 1930. The poetic Generation of '27 and Catalan and Basque nationalism grew in this era, which saw the eventual installation of the Second Spanish Republic.
Second Republic and Civil War
Once the Spanish Civil War broke out, Alfonso made it clear he favoured the military uprising against the Popular Front government, but General Francisco Franco in September 1936 declared that the Nationalists would never accept Alfonso as King (the supporters of the rival Carlist pretender made up an important part of the Franco Army). First, he went into exile in France.[clarification needed] Nevertheless, he sent his son, Juan de Borbon, Count of Barcelona, to enter Spain in 1936 and participate in the uprising. However, near the French border, General Mola had him arrested and expelled from the country.
On 29 September 1936, upon the death of Infante Alfonso Carlos, Duke of San Jaime (also the Carlist pretender, but known to French legitimists as Charles XII), Alfonso also became the senior heir of Hugh Capet and so was hailed by legitimists as King Alphonse I of France and Navarre.
Abdication and death
On 15 January 1941, Alfonso XIII abdicated his rights to the Spanish throne in favour of his third (of four), but second-surviving, son Juan, father of the current King, Juan Carlos. He died in Rome on 28 February of that year.
The Francoist Spanish Government ordered three days of national mourning. His funeral was held in Rome in the Church of Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri. He was buried in the Church of Santa Maria in Monserrato degli Spagnoli, the Spanish national church in Rome, immediately below the tombs of Pope Callixtus III and Pope Alexander VI. In January 1980 his remains were transferred to El Escorial in Spain.
Alfonso was a promoter of tourism in Spain. The need for the lodging of his wedding guests prompted the construction of the luxury Hotel Palace in Madrid. He also supported the creation of a network of state-run lodges (Parador) in historic buildings of Spain. His fondness for the sport of football led to the patronage of several "Royal" ("Real" in Spanish) football clubs, the first being Real Club Deportivo de La Coruña in 1907. Selected others include Real Madrid, Real Sociedad, Real Betis, Real Unión and Real Zaragoza.
Marriage and children
On 31 May 1906, at the Royal Monastery of San Geronimo in Madrid, Alfonso married Scottish-born Princess Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg (1887–1969), a niece of King Edward VII of the United Kingdom, and a granddaughter of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom. A Serene Highness by birth, Ena, as she was known, was raised to Royal Highness status a month before her wedding to prevent the union from being viewed as unequal.
As Alfonso XIII and Ena were returning from the wedding, they narrowly escaped an assassination attempt by Mateu Morral who threw a bomb from a high window; instead, the explosion killed or injured many bystanders and members of the Royal procession.
Alfonso and Ena had six children:
- Infante Alfonso Pío Cristino Eduardo Francisco Guillermo Carlos Enrique Fernando Antonio Venancio of Spain, Prince of Asturias (1907–1938), a hemophiliac, he renounced his rights to the throne in 1933 to marry a commoner, Edelmira Ignacia Adriana Sampedro-Robato, and became Count of Covadonga. He later remarried to Marta Ester Rocafort-Altazarra, but had no issue by either of them.
- Infante Jaime Leopoldo Isabelino Enrique Alberto Alfonso Víctor Acacio Pedro María of Spain (1908–1975), a deaf-mute as the result of a childhood operation, he renounced his rights to the throne in 1933 and became Duke of Segovia, and later Duke of Madrid, and who, as a legitimist pretender to the French throne from 1941 to 1975, was known as the Duke of Anjou.
- Infanta Beatriz Isabela Federica Alfonsa Eugenia Cristina María Teresa Bienvenida Ladislaa of Spain (1909–2002), who married Don Alessandro Torlonia, 5th Prince di Civitella-Cesi.
- Infante Fernando, stillborn (1910)
- Infanta María Cristina Teresa Alejandra Guadalupe María de la Concepción Victoria Eugenia of Spain (1911–1996), who married Enrico Eugenio Marone-Cinzano, 1st Conte Marone-Cinzano.
- Infante Juan Carlos Teresa Silvestre Alfonso of Spain (1913–1993), named heir-apparent to the throne and Count of Barcelona, whose son is the current King, Juan Carlos I of Spain.
- Infante Gonzalo Manuel María Bernardo Narciso Alfonso Mauricio of Spain (1914–1934), a hemophiliac, like his elder brother Alfonso. He died due to bleeding from injuries suffered in a car crash.
The King also had six illegitimate children:
By French aristocrat Mélanie de Gaufridy de Dortan (1876–1937), he had Roger Marie Vincent Philippe Lévêque de Vilmorin (12 September 1905 – 20 July 1980)
By Spanish actress María del Carmen Ruíz y Moragas (1898–1936):
- Ana María Teresa Ruíz y Moragas (9 October 1925 – 6 September 1965)
- Leandro Alfonso Luis Ruíz y Moragas (born 26 April 1929), officially recognized by Spanish Courts on 21 May 2003 as Leandro Alfonso Luis de Borbón y Ruíz Moragas
By Béatrice Noon, he had Juana Alfonsa Milán y Quiñones de León (19 April 1916 – 16 May 2005)
By Pauline of Saint Glen, he had Charles Maxime Victor of Saint Glen (3 July 1914 - 20 May 1934).
By Marie Sousa, he had Alonso of Borbon Sousa (28 December 1930 - 30 April 1934).
|Heraldry of Alfonso XIII of Spain|
- 1,072nd Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece in Spain in 1886
- Maestranza de Caballeria (Royal Cavalry Armory) de Ronda, Sevilla, Granada, Valencia y Zaragoza
- Order of Charles III
- Order of Santiago
- Order of Calatrava
- Order of Alcántara
- Order of Montesa
- 315th Grand Cross of the Order of the Tower and Sword in 1900
- 815th Knight of the Order of the Garter in 1902
- Order of the Chrysanthemum, 1930: Emperor Showa's second brother, Prince Takamatsu, traveled to Madrid to confer the Great Collar of the Chrysanthemum on King Alfonso. This honor was intended, in part, to commemorate the diplomatic and trading history which existed long before other Western nations were officially aware of Japan's existence. Prince Takamatsu traveled with his wife, Princess Takamatsu, to Spain. Her symbolic role in this unique mission to the Spanish Court was intended to emphasize the international links which were forged by her 16th-century ancestor, Ieyasu Tokugawa. In the years before the Tokugawa shogunate, that innovative daimyo from Western Japan had been actively involved in negotiating trade and diplomatic treaties with Spain and with the colonies of New Spain (Mexico) and the Philippines; and it was anticipated that the mere presence of the Princess could serve to underscore the range of possibilities which could be inferred from that little-known history.
Alfonso XIII appears as "King Buby" in Luis Coloma's story of Ratoncito Pérez (1894), which was written for the King when he was 8 years old. The story of Ratoncito Pérez has been adapted into further literary works and movies since then, with the character of Alfonso XIII appearing in some. Alfonso XIII is also mentioned on the plaque to Ratoncito Pérez on the second floor of "la calle del Arenal".
- His wife was English, his mother Austrian, amongst other family relationships.
- "The Happiest Living Monarch", New York Times. 14 August 1889.
- "Alfonso's Reign Begins on 17 May; He Will Take the Oath on That Day – Festivities to Last a Week," New York Times, 29 March 1902.
- Barry 171.
- "Mourning in Spain", The Times (3 March 1941): 3.
- "Italians to Mourn Death of Alfonso," The New York Times. 2 March 1931.
- "21 Guns for Dead King's Homecoming", The Times (21 January 1980): 4.
- Faustino Menéndez Pidal de Navascués; María del Carmen Iglesias (1999). Símbolos de España. ISBN 978-84-259-1074-6.
- Dotor, Santiag. "Discussion on the 1931 addition of Jerusalem arms". Royal Banner of Spain (1761-1931). Flags of the World. Retrieved 19 March 2013.
- Eduardo García-Menacho y Osset (2010). Introducción a la Heráldica y Manual de Heráldica Militar Española. Ministerio de Defensa. Subdir. Gral. Publicaciones. pp. 105–107. ISBN 978-84-9781-559-8.
- Ricardo Mateos Sáinz de Medrano (2007). La reina María Cristina: madre de Alfonso XIII y regente de España. ISBN 978-84-9734-638-2.
- Collier, William Miller. (1912). At the Court of His Catholic Majesty, pp. 35–36; Order of the Golden Fleece.
- Miller, pp. 37–38; Orden de Carlos III (in Spanish).
- Miller, pp. 39–39; Order of Santiago.
- Miller, pp. 39–39; Order of Calatrava.
- Miller, pp. 39–39; Order of Alcántara.
- Miller, pp. 39–39; Order of Montesa.
- "Japan to Decorate King Alfonso Today; Emperor's Brother Nears Madrid With Collar of the Chrysanthemum for Spanish King," New York Times, 3 November 1930; see also Nutail, Zelia. (1906). The Earliest Historical Relations Between Mexico and Japan, p. 2.
- Barry, John M. (2004). The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Greatest Plague in History. Viking Penguin. ISBN 0-670-89473-7.
- Churchill, Winston. Great Contemporaries. London: T. Butterworth, 1937. Contains the most famous single account of Alfonso in the English language. The author, writing shortly after the Spanish Civil War began, retained considerable fondness for the ex-sovereign.
- Collier, William Miller. At the Court of His Catholic Majesty. Chicago: McClurg, 1912. The author was American ambassador to Spain from 1905 to 1909.
- Noel, Gerard. Ena: Spain's English Queen. London: Constable, 1985. Considerably more candid than Petrie about Alfonso the private man, and about the miseries the royal family experienced because of their hemophiliac children.
- Nuttall, Zelia (1906). The earliest historical relations between Mexico and Japan: from original documents preserved in Spain and Japan. The University Press.
- Petrie, Charles. King Alfonso XIII and His Age. London: Chapman & Hall, 1963. Written as it was during Queen Ena's lifetime, this book necessarily omits the King's extramarital affairs; but it remains a useful biography, not least because the author knew Alfonso quite well, interviewed him at considerable length, and relates him to the Spanish culture of his time.
- Pilapil, Vicente R. Alfonso XIII. Twayne's rulers and statesmen of the world series 12. New York: Twayne, 1969.
- Sencourt, Robert. King Alfonso: A Biography. London: Faber, 1942.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Alfonso XIII of Spain|
- Historiaantiqua. Alfonso XIII; (Spanish) (2008)
Alfonso XIII of Spain
Cadet branch of the Capetian dynastyBorn: 17 May 1886 Died: 28 February 1941
Title last held byAlfonso XII
|King of Spain
17 May 1886 – 14 April 1931
Title next held byJuan Carlos I
Maria Christina of Austria
as Queen regent of Spain
|Head of State of Spain
17 May 1886 – 14 April 1931
as President of Spain
|Titles in pretence|
|Loss of title||— TITULAR —
King of Spain
14 April 1931 – 15 January 1941
|— TITULAR —
King of France and Navarre
29 September 1936 – 28 February 1941
Reason for succession failure:
Bourbon monarchy deposed in 1830
|Awards and achievements|
Dwight F. Davis
|Cover of Time Magazine
22 December 1924
Charles Evans Hughes