Jesús Aguirre

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Jesús Aguirre
Duke of Alba (more...)
BornJesús Aguirre y Ortiz de Zárate
(1934-06-09)9 June 1934
Madrid, Spain
Died11 May 2001(2001-05-11) (aged 66)
Madrid, Spain
Noble familyHouse of Alba (by marriage)
Spouse(s)Cayetana Fitz-James Stuart, 18th Duchess of Alba
MotherMaría del Carmen Aguirre y Ortiz de Zárate
Seat f of the Real Academia Española
In office
11 December 1986 – 11 May 2001
Preceded byManuel de Terán [es]
Succeeded byLuis Ángel Rojo [es]
Ecclesiastical career
ChurchRoman Catholic Church
Congregations served
Church of the City University of Madrid

Jesús Aguirre y Ortiz de Zárate, Duke consort of Alba (9 June 1934 – 11 May 2001) was a Spanish intellectual, Jesuit priest, literary editor, and aristocrat. After leaving the priesthood, he became the literary editorial director of Taurus Publishing and later held the position of Director General of Music in the Spanish Ministry of Culture from 1977 to 1980. He was married to Cayetana Fitz-James Stuart, 18th Duchess of Alba and head of the House of Alba. In 1986, he went on to occupy Chair "F" of the Royal Spanish Academy, replacing Manuel de Terán Álvarez.[1]

Early life and priesthood[edit]

Jesús Aguirre was born on 9 June 1934 in Madrid, Spain. He spent most of his childhood in Santander. He began his priestly career at Comillas Pontifical University, Madrid, graduating with a degree in philosophy. In 1956, he went to Munich to study theology under Gottlieb Söhngen, at the same time as Cardinal Ratzinger was there. It was in Munich that he made contact with the survivors of Critical School, and was a speaker at the first meetings between Marxists and Christians.

In 1958, during his vacation to Spain, he joined the People's Liberation Front, and in 1962 he served as a pastor to the Church of the City University of Madrid. When he left the priesthood in 1969, he wrote "Sermones en España" ["Sermons in Spain"]. It was initially banned in Francoist Spain. The ban was lifted in 1971, a year and a half later.

During his time as a priest, he worked for Taurus Publishing House, first as a translator and editor of religious publications, eventually becoming editor-in-chief, becoming a personal friend of many Spanish writers and politicians.[2] As editor in chief, he was largely responsible for the translation and/or edition of a significant number of the works of the Frankfurt School.[3]

Secular life and marriage[edit]

During his time at Taurus, Aguirre met Cayetana Fitz-James Stuart, 18th Duchess of Alba, and decided to leave the priesthood to be able to marry her. The cabinet of Spain subsequently appointed him Director General of music at the Ministry of Culture, where he served from 8 September 1977 to 25 January 1980.[4][5] On 16 March 1978 he married Cayetana Fitz-James, Duchess of Alba, whom he had met four months before. In 1981, he was elected president of the board of directors of Zoilo Ruiz-Mateos SA and he also became the director of the Bank Atlantic. Both organizations belonged to the business group Rumasa.[6] These were positions he held until 1983, when he was elected to be a member of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando. In 1986 he became the Chair "F" of the Royal Spanish Academy. He was also elected to be Commissioner of the Universal Exposition of 1992 in Sevilla, and in December 1985 he became a member of the Real Academia Sevillana de Buenas Letras.


On 12 January 2001 Aguirre entered the clinic of la Luz (Madrid) due to a localized laryngeal cancer. At 17:15 on 11 May he died from a pulmonary embolism in the Palace of Liria. He was buried in the family vault of the House of Alba in the Monastery of the Immaculate Conception at Loeches. The funeral was conducted by the parish priest of the village.

Awards and distinctions[edit]

Published works by Jesús Aguirre[edit]

  • Sermones en España (1971)
  • Casi ayer noche (1985)
  • Altas opportunidades (1987)
  • Memorias del cumplimiento (1988)
  • Las horas situadas (1989)
  • Crónica en la comisaría (1992)

Published works about Jesús Aguirre[edit]


  1. ^ RAE. "Elección de don Luis Ángel Rojo como miembro de número". Archived from the original on September 15, 2011. Retrieved July 17, 2011.
  2. ^ Herralde, Jorge (July 27, 2006). "Editor y duque. Recuerdos dispersos de Jesús Aguirre". España: El Cultural. Retrieved July 18, 2011.
  3. ^ Caballero Rodríguez, Beatriz. Against Instrumental Reason: Neo-Marxism and Spirituality in the Thought of J.L.L. Aranguren and J. Aguirre: Anagnórisis, 2013: 26, 262-71.
  4. ^ "Real Decreto 134/1980, de 25 de enero, por el que se dispone el cese de don Jesús Aguirre y Ortiz de Zárate como Director general de Música" (PDF). Madrid: Boletín Oficial del Estado. Archived (PDF) from the original on May 3, 2014. Retrieved April 19, 2011.
  5. ^ "Real Decreto por el que se nombra Director general de Música a don Jesús Aguirre y Ortiz de Zárate". Madrid: Boletín Oficial del Estado. Retrieved April 19, 2011.
  6. ^ "El duque de Alba, presidente de Zoilo Ruiz-Mateos, SA". España: El País. March 4, 1981. Retrieved April 19, 2011.