Princess María de las Mercedes of Bourbon-Two Sicilies

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Princess María Mercedes
Countess of Barcelona, Infanta of Spain
María de las Mercedes de Borbón y Orleans - 001.jpg
Bust of Princess María de las Mercedes.
Spouse Infante Juan, Count of Barcelona
Issue Infanta Pilar, Duchess of Badajoz
Juan Carlos I of Spain
Infanta Margarita, Duchess of Soria
Infante Alfonso of Spain
Full name
María de las Mercedes Cristina Genara Isabel Luisa Carolina Victoria y Todos los Santos
House House of Bourbon-Two Sicilies
House of Bourbon
Father Prince Carlos of Bourbon-Two Sicilies
Mother Princess Louise of Orléans
Born (1910-12-23)23 December 1910
Madrid, Spain
Died 2 January 2000(2000-01-02) (aged 89)
Lanzarote, Spain
Burial Escorial
Religion Roman Catholic
Royal styles of
Infanta María Mercedes of Spain,
Countess of Barcelona
Reference style Her Royal Highness
Spoken style Your Royal Highness
Alternative style Ma'am

Princess María Mercedes of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, Infanta of Spain, Countess of Barcelona (Spanish: Doña María de las Mercedes Cristina Genara Isabel Luisa Carolina Victoria y Todos los Santos de Borbón-Dos Sicilias y Orléans (Spanish pronunciation: [maˈɾi.a merˈθeðes]; 23 December 1910 – 2 January 2000) was the mother of Juan Carlos I, King of Spain from 1975 to 2014.


María was born in Madrid, daughter of Prince Carlos of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, Infante of Spain, a grandson of King Ferdinand II of the Two Sicilies, and his second wife, Princess Louise of Orléans, daughter of Prince Philippe, Count of Paris, a pretender to the French throne. She was granted, at birth, the rank and precedence of an Infanta of Spain, although not the actual use of the title (she was, after all, technically, a Princess of Bourbon-Two Sicilies). Her family moved to Seville, when her father was made Military Captain General of the province. When the Second Spanish Republic forced them to exile, they lived in Cannes and later in Paris, when she studied art at the Louvre.[1]

On 14 January 1935, she attended the wedding, in Rome, of Infanta Beatriz of Spain, daughter of King Alfonso XIII. Here she met her second cousin and future husband, the brother of the bride, the Infante Juan, Count of Barcelona, fourth son and designated heir of Alfonso XIII of Spain. They married in Rome on 12 October 1935. When her husband took the royal title of Count of Barcelona in 1942, María gained the title of Countess of Barcelona.

They had four children:

  1. Infanta Pilar, Duchess of Badajoz (born 1936)
  2. King Juan Carlos I (born 1938)
  3. Infanta Margarita, Duchess of Soria, 2nd Duchess of Hernani (born 1939)
  4. Infante Alfonso of Spain (Alfonso Cristino Teresa Angelo Francisco de Asis y Todos los Santos) (1941–1956)

They lived in Cannes and Rome, and, with the outbreak of World War II, they moved to Lausanne to live with Queen Victoria Eugenie, the mother of Infante Juan. Afterwards, they resided at Estoril, in Portugal.

In 1953, the Princess represented the Spanish Royal Family at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.[2]

In 1976, one year after the monarchy was restored in Spain in the person of her son, Juan Carlos, they returned to Spain. She mediated between her son and her husband, estranged since Juan Carlos had been designated heir by Franco. In 1977, Juan renounced his rights in favour of their son, who officially allowed him to retain the title of Count of Barcelona.

She broke her hip in 1982 and the left femur in 1985, which forced her to use a wheelchair for the rest of her life. She became a widow in 1993.

She was a fervid fan of bull fighting and of the Andalusian culture. In 1995, her granddaughter Infanta Elena married in Seville in part because the Countess' love for the city.

She was the 1,171st Dame of the Royal Order of Queen Maria Luisa on 4 March 1929.

She died of a heart attack in the royal residence of La Mareta, in Lanzarote, where the royal family was to celebrate the New Year.[3] She was buried with the honors of a Queen at the Royal Crypt of the monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, near Madrid.


Honours and Styles[edit]


  • Her Royal Highness Princess Maria Mercedes of the Two-Sicilies (1910–2000)
  • Her Royal Highness Infanta Maria Mercedes of Spain (1935–1942)
  • Her Royal Highness The Countess of Barcelona (1942–1993)
  • Her Royal Highness The Countess Dowager of Barcelona (1993–2000)



See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Media related to Maria Mercedes of Bourbon-Two Sicilies at Wikimedia Commons

Princess María de las Mercedes of Bourbon-Two Sicilies
Cadet branch of the House of Bourbon
Born: 23 December 1910 Died: 2 January 2000
Titles in pretence
Preceded by
Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg
Queen Consort of Spain
15 January 1941 – 22 November 1975
Reason for succession failure:
Monarchy abolished in 1931
Succeeded by
Sophia of Greece and Denmark
Byzantine Empress
15 January 1941 – 22 November 1975
Reason for succession failure:
Fall of Constantinople led to Ottoman conquest of Byzantine Empire