Infante Alfonso of Spain
|Alfonso Cristino Teresa Ángelo Francisco de Asís y Todos los Santos (et omnes sancti)|
|House||House of Bourbon|
|Father||Infante Juan, Count of Barcelona|
|Mother||Princess Maria Mercedes of Bourbon-Two Sicilies|
3 October 1941|
Rome, Kingdom of Italy
|Died||29 March 1956
Infante Alfonso of Spain (Don Alfonso Cristino Teresa Ángelo Francisco de Asís y Todos los Santos de Borbón y Borbón Dos-Sicilias; 3 October 1941, Rome – 29 March 1956, Estoril) was the younger brother of King Juan Carlos of Spain.
Alfonso was born in Rome, the youngest son of the Infante Juan of Spain, Count of Barcelona and of his wife, Princess Maria Mercedes of Bourbon-Two Sicilies. His godfather was the Infante Alfonso de Orleans y Borbón; his godmother was his father's sister Infanta Maria Cristina of Spain. Within his own family he was called Alfonsito to distinguish him from other family members with the name Alfonso.
In 1947 Alfonso visited Spain for the first time at the invitation of dictator Francisco Franco. In 1950 he and his brother Juan Carlos were sent to study in Spain. At first they lived in San Sebastián where a private school had been established in the Miramar Palace. In June 1954 they were received by General Franco at the Pardo Palace. Later Alfonso and Juan Carlos attended the military academy in Zaragoza.
Death and burial
In March 1956 Alfonso and Juan Carlos were at their parents' home Villa Giralda in Estoril, Portugal, for the Easter vacation. On Maundy Thursday Alfonso died in a gun accident. The Spanish Embassy in Portugal issued an official communiqué:
- Whilst His Highness the Infante Alfonso was cleaning a revolver last evening with his brother, a shot was fired hitting his forehead and killing him in a few minutes. The accident took place at 20.30 hours, after the Infante's return from the Maundy Thursday religious service, during which he had received Holy Communion.
Very quickly, however, rumours appeared in newspapers that the gun had actually been held by Alfonso's brother Juan Carlos at the moment the shot was fired. Josefina Carolo, dressmaker to Alfonso's mother, said that Juan Carlos playfully pointed the pistol at Alfonso and pulled the trigger, unaware that the pistol was loaded. Bernardo Pinheiro de Melo (a.k.a. "Maná"), a Portuguese friend of Juan Carlos, also said that Juan Carlos fired the pistol not knowing that it was loaded, and adding that the bullet ricocheted off a wall hitting Alfonso in the face. Helena Matheopoulos, a Greek author who spoke with Alfonso's sister Pilar, said that Alfonso had been out of the room and when he returned and pushed the door open, the door knocked Juan Carlos in the arm causing him to fire the pistol.
Most historians agree nowadays that the pistol was fired by Juan Carlos by accident. After the accident, the father, Don Juan de Borbón, sent Juan Carlos back to Spain immediately after the funeral and, because of pain and anger against Juan Carlos, did not talk to him for a while.
There have been various stories about the origins of the pistol. The most frequently repeated is that it was a gift to Alfonso from General Franco.
The funeral liturgy for Alfonso was held on Holy Saturday and was presided by Monsignor Fernando Cento, Apostolic Nuncio to Portugal. He was buried at the municipal cemetery in Cascais, Portugal. In October 1992 he was re-buried in the Pantheon of the Princes of El Escorial near Madrid.
- José María Zavala, Dos infantes y un destino (Barcelona: Planez & Janés, 1998), 101.
- Zavala, 102.
- Zavala, 111.
- "Spanish Pretender's Sons", The Times ( 2 October 1950): 3. "General Franco and Don Juan", The Times ( 3 October 1950): 5.
- Zavala, 165.
- Zavala, 171.
- "Prince to Return to Spain Tuesday", The New York Times ( 16 January 1955): 25.
- Quoted in Paul Preston, Juan Carlos: Steering Spain from Dictatorship to Democracy (New York: W.W. Norton, 2004), 101.
- Preston, 102.
- Preston, 103.
- Zavala, José M. Dos infantes y un destino. Barcelona: Plaza & Janés, 1998. ISBN 84-01-55006-8.
- "Son Born to Spanish Pretender". The New York Times ( 4 October 1941): 17.
- "Funeral of Infante Don Alfonso". The Times ( 2 April 1956): 8.
- "Don Juan's Son Is Killed in Spanish Gun Accident". The New York Times ( 30 March 1956): 3.
- Mikkelson, Barbara. "A Royal Mystery".