Thursday, May 3, 2012

+ The Duchess of Segovia (1913-2012)

From Rome we receive news regarding the passing of doña Emanuela de Dampierre, Duchess of Segovia, whose first husband was the Infante don Jaime of Spain (1908-1975), second son of King Alfonso XIII and Queen Victoria Eugenia (née Battenberg).

Emanuela was born in Rome in 1913 as the daughter of French aristocrat, Roger de Dampierre, Duke of San Lorenzo (1892-1975) and of his wife, the former Donna Vittoria Ruspoli (1892-1982), daughter of Emanuele Ruspoli, Prince of Poggio Suaso, and of his second wife, American heiress Josephine Curtiss, whose father was a wealthy New York businessman. Josephine's sister, Elizabeth was the first wife of the Duke of Dino, whose father eventually became the Prince de Sagan, head of the Talleyrand-Perigord family.

The marriage of Emanuela and Jaime was arranged. King Alfonso XIII and the Duchess of San Lorezo  negotiated the whole affair and off to church Jaime and Emanuela went. Their union was going to be a miserable one for both spouses, their children, and their respective families as acrimony and endless arguments, mixed with mutual infidelities, particularly after the King's death, became the order of the day.

Nonetheless, on 4 Mach 1935, in Rome, doña Emanuele was married to Infante don Jaime, who had renounced his Spanish succession rights some years before. Jaime was born with a hearing condition that eventually affected his speech and auditory system. After the fall of the Spanish monarchy in 1931 his father believed it impossible for Jaime to carry on the monarchist torch due to this handicap. hence, Jaime was asked to renounce his rights in exchange for a financial settlement, which he willingly signed. In later years Jaime was a thorn on the side of his younger brother don Juan, Count of Barcelona.

Jaime and Emanuela had two sons, Alfonso and Gonzalo. Both boys were named after don Jaime's hemophiliac brothers, who died from bleedings sustained in car accidents in 1938 and 1934 respectively.

The marriage of Jaime and Emanuela was deeply unhappy. After the death of King Alfonso XIII the couple drifted apart and eventually divorced. Emanuela took up with a wealthy Italian named Antonio Sozzani, who would finance the lifestyle of her sons, as well as cover most of their education costs. Tonino Sozzani received little recognition for his largesse and Emanuela eventually separated from him. "He was their personal cash card," said a royal friend of Tonino Sozzani.

Don Jaime took up with a disreputable woman by the name of Charlotte Tiedemann (1919-1979). His marriage to Emanuela on the rocks, the couple were divorced in Bucharest in 1947, after which Jaime married Charlotte. Yet in the eyes of the Roman Catholic Church, as well as in the estimation of French Legitimists (who saw don Jaime as an alternative to the Orleans' headed by the Count of Paris), doña Emanuela remained always his wife. Emanuela and Tonino married in 1949, but had no issue.

Poor doña Emanuela had a tortured life and tragedy seemed to be at her front foor far too often. In 1972 her eldest son don Alfonso de Borbón married María del Carmen Martínez-Bordíu y Franco, eldest granddaughter of Spain's dictator, General Francisco Franco. The couple had two sons, Francisco (1972-1984) and Luis Alfonso (b. 1974), before the marriage imploded and divorce was sought and obtained.

In 1984, while driving back to Madrid after spending a weekend skiing, don Alfonso, who had received the title of Duke of Cadiz, was driving, avoided making a stop sign and caused an accident. His eldest son died, while Cadiz spent months in hospital. Luis Alfonso also suffered much harm, but his recovery was the speediest.

Five years later the Duke of Cadiz died decapitated while skiing in Colorado. After his death it was discovered that Alfonso was engaged to be married to Archduchess Constanza of Austria, a granddaughter of Emperor Karl and Empress Zita.

Eleven years later, doña Emanuela was visited by yet another tragedy when her second son, Gonzalo, died of leukemia. Gonzalo had never amounted to much. He had no children from various marriages, in fact one of his ex-wives later wrote a memoir in which she alleged Gonzalo was homosexual. Whether this was done out of spite, or not, Gonzalo did leave a child behind, a daughter named Stephanie Michelle de Borbón, who went on to marry and give her father several grandchildren. Gonzalo had very little to do with his daughter and never assumed financial responsibility for her upbringing either. At the time of his death he was married to an Italian lady by the name of Emanuela Pratolongo.

Tonino Sozani died several years ago. He remained devoted to Emanuela, and even though in old age they had drifted apart he never stopped his financial obligations to her.

She lived long enough to rejoice in the marriage of her grandson Luis Alfonso to a wealthy Venezuelan lady, María Margarita Vargas, an alliance that solved the family's finances forever. Luis Alfonso, who continues his father and grandfather's baseless French monarchist claims, has three children by his wife: Eugenie, Alfonso and Luis.

The Duchess of Segovia lived in Rome's Palazzo Massimo, where she died.

The Late Duchess of Segovia

HRH the Infante don Jaime of Spain, Duke of Segovia

Don Alfonso de Borbón, Duke of Cadiz


  1. Thank you very much for the post, with the exception of one word : "baseless".
    Unless you consider the Republican point of view, of course.
    In French crown devolution rules, that cannot be removed or changed, she married a Son of France who later became Dauphin de France (after Prince of Asturias, Alfonso, died), and in 1941 (death of Alfonso XIII), king of France de jure.

  2. You conveniently ignore, as Legitimists do, that Philippe of France signed away his French succession rights to gain the throne and wealth of the crown of Spain.

    For his descendants to recant the agreed tenets of the the Treaty of Utrecht is a "baseless" act. International treaties of the magnitude of Utrecht supercede national and family law.

    The Orléans line of the French Royal House was accepted by French authorities, the majority of the French people and every other royal house as the true holder of Headship of House France. They have suffered exile, expropriation, vicissitudes and sacrifices for holding these rights.

    Infante don Jaime and his descendants were nothing less than opportunists in the hands of the Legitimists!