Edelmira, Countess of Covadonga
|Edelmira Sampedro-Ocejo y Robato|
|Countess of Covadonga|
|Born||5 March 1906|
Sagua La Grande, Cuba
|Died||23 May 1994 (aged 88)|
Coral Gables, Florida, U.S.
Alfonso, Prince of Asturias
(m. 1933; div. 1937)
|Father||Luciano Pablo Sampedro y Ocejo|
|Mother||Edelmira Robato y Turro|
Edelmira Ignacia Adriana Sampedro-Ocejo y Robato (5 March 1906 in Sagua La Grande – 23 May 1994 in Coral Gables, Florida) was known as Countess of Covadonga after her marriage to Alfonso, former Prince of Asturias, in 1933.
Early life and marriage
The Countess was the daughter of a Cuban merchant, Luciano Pablo Sampedro y Ocejo, later hyphenated to Sampedro-Ocejo, and wife Edelmira Robato y Turro, later hyphenated Robato-Turro. She was a cousin of Jorge Mañach y Robato. She met the Prince at a Lausanne sanatorium where he was being treated for his haemophilia. They saw each other one night at a cinema in the Swiss city of Lausanne and they fell in love.
Everything was adverse for this young couple from the beginning. The Spanish Royal Family did not accept the engagement and Edelmira soon had to suffer pressure from the messengers of Alfonso XIII, already exiled in Paris, who took away from his son his five cars, noticeably curtailed his monthly allowance and definitively obliged him to give up his right to succession. No one from the Royal House attended the religious or civil wedding in Ouchy, Lausanne, Switzerland, on 21 June 1933, and the invitations that the Count of Covadonga sent to friends and acquaintances were returned to him “with regret”. In the face of his father's bitter opposition to the match, the Prince was quoted: "I love her and want to marry her. Let Juan have the throne.".
On the one hand, Edelmira’s disproportionate jealousy and on the other hand, the haemophilia suffered by Alfonso, would make their life together very difficult. The couple broke up from time to time but they always got back together until 1937 when she accused him of having another woman. In New York City, Alfonso requested the marriage to be nullified and in Havana, Edelmira asked for a divorce, which eventually came on 8 May 1937. On that particular occasion, Edelmira's accusation was based on fact. Alfonso was secretly seeing another Cuban lady, model Marta Esther Rocafort-Altuzarra (18 September 1913 – 4 February 1993). They would get married on 3 June 1937 in Havana and divorce a few months later.
Alfonso died later from his injuries from a car accident in Miami on 6 September 1938. He was entombed at Woodlawn Park Cemetery and Mausoleum (now Caballero Rivero Woodlawn Park North Cemetery and Mausoleum) in Miami (In 1985, he was re-entombed in the Pantheon of the Princes in El Escorial, with Edelmira attending). After her divorce and his death the Royal Family of Spain treated her well and accorded her all the rights of a widow in the Royal Family. She never gave an interview in over 60 years and never remarried. When Alfonso's mother Queen Victoria Eugenie died Edelmira was left some jewellery. She first lived in Havana and after the Cuban Revolution at 722 Cadima Avenue in Coral Gables, Florida, until her death.
- Time, 12 June 1933
- El Nuevo Herald, 23 May 2004 (in Spanish)
- El Mundo, 2 July 1994 (in Spanish)
- Anuario Social de La Habana 1939, (Havana, Cuba: Luz-Hilo S.A., 1939) (in Spanish)
- Anuario de Familias Cubanas 1988, Joaquin de Posada, editor (Costa Rica: Trejos Hermanos Sucrs., Inc., 1988) (in Spanish)