• fr
  • en
Spain

Family portraits from Spain

Photo dedicated to my grandmother the Duchess de Guise by young king Alfonso XIII He is not handsome, but he is irresistibly seductive. The truth is: few ladies could resist him. Distinguished, elegant, an admirable equestrian, courteous: he was a grand nobleman, right to his fingertips. Alas, he was less brilliant politically, which would bring…

THE ECCENTRIC DUCHESS

Cayetana Fitz-James Stuart, Duchess of Alba was the descendant of a bastard child of King James II of England, who had come to fight in Spain. It could have been said that she was the last of the line of Stuarts. She possessed innumerable duchies, marquisates and counties, which made her one of the most…

THE JEWELS OF THE SPANISH CROWN

In the month of July 1808, panic reigned in Madrid. A French army of 100,000 men was marching towards the city, determined to prevail. For a year coups d’état, revolts and repression had wracked the city. Napoleon, after having dethroned the Bourbon dynasty, was determined to put one of his brothers on the throne of…

A secret scandal: Zaraus part II

« In an old and lost time a great sage lived here, a man of knowledge and kindness. Seduced by the beauty and serenity of the place he came to settle here. He built a hermitage and every day through his prayer spread his blessing on this deserted site. After his death a few monks…

A secret scandal : Zaraus

The seaside resort of Zaraus hardly seems the place to conjure up visions of the supernatural. Of course ghosts can settle anywhere but I hardly feared that they would be inspired by these modest, mundane seaside constructions dolefully aligned along rectilinear avenues or by the recent villas which have sprung up and that clashed with…

ALBERONI & THE PRINCESS DES URSINS

King Philippe V married the Princess of Savoy who made the mistake of dying. A terrible tragedy. They had indeed produced an heir, a son, but it was not therein that lay the problem: King Philippe V could not carry on without making love or he would fall ill. This uncompromising Christian would share his…

FAMILY PHOTOS FROM SPAIN

  The guards on horseback in front of the Royal Palace of Madrid Built in the 18th century by King Charles III, in my opinion it is still the most beautiful royal dwelling in Europe: as much for its exterior architecture as for its interior décor and for the richness of its collections. It holds…

Saint-Simon_portrait_officiel_1728_alberoni_duke_vendome_michael of greece_chronicles

ALBERONI & THE DUKE OF VENDOME

It was during the Spanish War of Succession that one of Saint Simon’s masterpieces unfolded: the story of Alberoni. France was then fighting against a coalesced Europe. A French army laid siege on the city of Parma: its Duke was an ally of Louis XIV’s enemies. The Duke was a direct descendant of Pope Paul…

Charles II-king-of-spain-michael-of-greece-chronicles

THE SUCCESSION OF CHARLES II

One of the chapters of the reign of Louis XIV concerns the succession of Spain. It fascinates me. It is the end of the year 1700 and we find ourselves in Madrid. King Charles II is dying. He was badly deformed, the result of so many marriages between blood relations in the family which had…

The Ruby of the Black Prince

It was during the time when Spain was still partially Muslim, when Arab sovereigns still ruled certain provinces, despite the Christian Reconquista which had begun centuries earlier. King Peter the Cruel, or the Just, was staying in Seville when he learned that an Arab emirs, one of his own allies, was in possession of the largest,…