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THE DUCHESS OF ALBA

THE DUCHESS OF ALBA

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The Duchess of Alba descends from one of the oldest lineages in the world. Everything that surrounds the duchess named Cayetana Fitz-James Stuart is interesting, not only for its vast historical content, but also because of the character and uniqueness of this particular and singular duchess. She was born in the Palace of Liria in 1926. She has a protected heritage valued at 3 billion euros. She has 45 titles of nobility, 12 with greatness from Spain, 18 names, plus 30 surnames. Her godparents are HRH King Alfonso XIII and Queen Victoria Eugenia. She likes the opera because it communicates the greatest love stories. She is a romantic and her favorite film is Gone with the Wind. She doesn't drink tea or coffee, although she consumes lime juice daily. On Sundays, she likes to be brought churros for breakfast. She doesn't eat meat, but she has a weakness for rice, potato omelets, a Spanish dessert of caramelized egg yolks and sugar (tocinillo del cielo), and cakes of condensed milk. All in all, she eats little and in moderation. She does not wear perfumes and she collects porcelain boxes. She doesn't consider herself a night owl and likes to keep a routine. She is very religious.

She spends most of her time at the Palace of Owners, which is without a doubt her favorite place, and she takes care of its maintenance. She has said on several occasions that "It's a happy place... It gives me life." The Palace of Owners is located in the heart of the city of Seville, in an extension of a green space of a thousand square meters. The palace has thirty rooms, two dining rooms, a library, a chapel, a swimming pool and a smaller pool. The palace has a tapestry collection of great value and a watercolor painting by Jackie Kennedy.

The palace chapel is of the purest style of Seville. It is small, but as playful as its owner. In its interior, there are numerous souvenirs, such as the gift that Pope Benedict XVI gave Cayetana, a hand-made bouquet of wax flowers worn by the Virgin of Anguish on Holy Thursday, as well as icons of Saint Isidoro and Saints Justa and Rufina. What is most striking is undoubtedly the photo of her favorite pet, who died last December and is buried in the pet cemetery of the Palace of Liria in Madrid.

Cayetana has a deep love for pets, a weakness that runs in the family and drove her grandfather Carlos to bestow upon his pets an infinite resting place in the family burial grounds. There, in small mausoleums, were laid to rest the lifeless remains of the dogs, some cats, several parrots and a monkey, animals who shared their lives with illustrious human owners. Each of the tombs has its own slab on which is engraved the name of the pet, its ancestry, the date of its birth and the date of its the death.

The duchess had a fairy-tale childhood, yet a bittersweet story. The Spain in which Cayetana lived passed through the bombing of the Palace of Liria, her debut in Seville, and other events that have left Cayetana with her love, her passions and anecdotes, her cuisine, and also the five children she loves to this day. A lifetime of smiles and tears.