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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 numerous secrets within, some of them yet to be discovered. It is still used for the Spanish monarchy’s official ceremonies, and King Juan Carlos has his office in one of his great grandfather King Alfonso XIII’s apartments.

The Queen Regent Maria-Christina of Austria with one of her daughters and Alfonso XIII seated on a stool

Her husband Alfonso XII died while she was pregnant. They had to wait for the Queen to deliver the child to know who Spain’s next sovereign would be. If she had a son; it would be him: if it was a girl; it would be the eldest daughter. It was indeed a son, Alfonso XIII, who was presented to the Court and government on a silver tray as soon as he was born: nude, so that everyone could confirm his gender. Until he came of age, she would be an exemplary and courageous regent.

Alfonso XIII, King of Spain and George II, King of Greece

Probably taken in the gardens of the Royal Palace of Madrid.

Alfonso XIII is still on the throne. Georges II must have been there in exile, as was often the case. What had he come to Spain for? I do not know. He was not related to the Bourbon’s but a sense of solidarity amongst monarchs, on or off their thrones, must have been in play.

Alfonso XIII in uniform on horseback
Once again, the photo must have been taken in the gardens of the Royal Place

Alfonso XIII was not handsome, but infinitely seductive, highly charming and phenomenally successful with the ladies. He did indeed cut a dashing figure. My mother and her sisters loved him dearly and called him “Tio rey”.


by Prince Michael of Greece