Spains fabulously wealthy 85-year-old Duchess of Alba married a civil servant 25 years her junior on Wednesday after overcoming her childrens opposition and she celebrated by dancing flamenco.
The twice-widowed aristocrat kicked off her shoes and danced on a red carpet at the entrance of her 15th century Palacio de las Duenas in Seville after tying the knot in the chapel of the estate as dozens of well-wishers cheered.”Long live the Duchess!”, the crowd yelled out as her new husband Alfonso Diez, wearing a grey suit and blue tie, smiled and looked on.Minutes earlier the duchess, who wore a light pink lace dress with a green sash by Andalusian designers Victorio & Lucchino, struggled to toss her bouquet to the crowd.
The bouquet fell short of the well-wishers on her first two attempts and had to be retrieved by a security guard but on her third toss the flowers reached a young woman.
“This is a very beautiful marriage, with lots of love and tenderness,” said 40-year-old Enrique Jimenez who wore a T-shirt with an image of the aristocrat before crying out: “I love you so much Duchess!”.
Only the nobles six children and their families, and a handful of friends, were invited to the ceremony and wedding meal, which included gazpacho soup and rice with spicy lobster.It was a dramatic change from Maria del Rosario Cayetana Fitz-James-Stuarts first marriage in October 1947, when the 21-year-old bride had 1,000 guests and wore gems reportedly worth $1.5 million even then.Spanish media devoured every detail of the wedding and several TV stations broadcast live outside of the palace during the ceremony.
But it is the story of the love match and the suspicions of the duchesss children that her beloved may be a gold digger that has really fascinated Spaniards.
The duchess, the head of the house of Alba who is renowned for her frizzy hair and colourful dress sense, has said she had to work hard to overcome her offsprings objections to her plans to marry Diez.Several months ago she divided up much of her estate among her five sons and one daught — palaces, mansions and treasures including masterpieces by artists from Goya to Velazquez, Murillo, Rembrandt and Rubens.But she has kept control until her death over the assets, reputedly worth between $850 million and $5 billion.As a strict Roman Catholic, the duchess said in an interview on the eve of the wedding that she had no choice but to marry.
“I am anti-divorce, anti-abortion, anti all those atrocities,” she said in an interview with the Spanish news agency EFE.”I am a Catholic and I practice it. That is why I am marrying for a third time,” said the duchess.”Unfortunately my previous two husbands died.”The duchess, who has more titles than any other noble on Earth according to Guinness World Records, said there had been opposition to the marriage from her children and friends “until they realized the calibre of the man he was, he is”.
Two of her children did not attend the wedding, in a possible sign of continued qualms over the relationship.Her only daughter Eugenia was at a Madrid hospital with the chickenpox while one of her sons who was reportedly unhappy with his share of the inheritance, Jacobo, was away on a business trip in Paris, according to press reports.
Outside of the palace, many well-wishers who had waited for hours under a blazing sun for a glimpse of the newlyweds expressed their support.”Before it was just men who got married to younger women, it is time for us older women to get married with younger men,” said 65-year-old Encarna Alcazar, who like the duchess is twice-widowed.