08/11/2011

Public soap opera leaves Duchess miffed

The kids have their millions and the duchess has her man. But that doesn’t mean everyone is happy.

Duchess The Duchess of Alba, one of Europe’s richest and most titled women, is upset that her family business was has been brought to the world’s attention.

The 85-year-old’s tale of love and money has taken on soap-opera proportions in Spain and well beyond its borders as the story played out over recent months.

In the latest chapter, the Duchess – also known as Maria del Rosario Cayetana Fitz-James-Stuart – has reached a monetary settlement with her six children that will overcome their objections to her marrying a civil servant many years her junior (right).

"Of course, I am very fair,” the duchess told Spanish television TVE on Thursday when asked if her children were happy. “And since it is my business I don't want to talk about it."

She added that she has no idea who leaked news of the settlement, but "I don't like it.”

One report claims that she has now legally bequeathed the fortune to her children but will maintain control over it until her death.

Her boyfriend, 60-year-old Alfonso Diez, was equally miffed.

"It is one thing for her to do her things, but another to have them aired," Diez, said when reached in Madrid.

The frizzy-haired duchess is unique among royals with a Guinness world record 46 titles, including 22 as countess and seven as duchess.

The duchess’ wealth is estimated between $1-5 billion, with enough homes throughout Spain for all her children and eight grandchildren.

Her two previous husbands both died and several years ago she began seeing Diez, who works in the social security department and has a public relations firm.

When things got to the point a few years ago where marriage was considered, the children stepped in to object.

 “Alfonso doesn't want anything, he's renounced everything,” the duchess told a radio station in February. “He doesn't want anything but me.”  

It's been reported one of the settlement conditions is that her eldest son Carlos will contol the Liria Palace in Madrid -- where the duchess was born -- along with its priceless collection of art that includes  masters such as El Greco and Rembrandt.

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Would he be a "gold digger"?

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