Spain's Duchess of Alba Cayetana Fitz-James Stuart y Silva and her husband Alfonso Diez pose at the entrance of Palacio de las Duenas in Seville after their wedding on Oct. 5. (Reuters)
PHOTO GALLERY: The Duchess gets married
The 85-year-old Duchess of Alba got what she wanted in the end … a third husband.
After feuding with her children who opposed to the marriage to a 60-year-old civil servant, the wealthy and colourful Spanish duchess finally wed Alfonso Diez on Wednesday in the chapel of her 15th century Palacio de las Duenas in Seville.
Hundreds stood outside the estate as the twice-widowed noble exchanged vows with Diez, a civil servant, before a small gathering of family and Spanish celebrites.
The frizzy-haired duchess, one of Spain’s most flambouyant public figures and a frequent patient for cosmetic surgery, was locked in a battle with her children earlier this year as they squabbled over the what might happen with her vast estate, which is estimated between $850 million and $5 billion.
In the end, she gave her five sons and one daughter much of her wealth – including palaces and art masterpieces from the likes of Rembrandt and Rubens – but will keep it all under her control until her death. Four of her children attended the wedding. One of the absent sons is reportedly unhappy with his slice of the Alba empire.
The marriage has been the talk of the gossip magazines, culminating this week when a tabloid magazine, Interviu, published 30-year-old topless pictures of the duchess. That prompted her lawyer to say he was suing.
The duchess, who has more titles (44) than any other noble on Earth according to Guinness World Records, said she confronted opposition to the union with Diez from family and friends "until they realized the calibre of the man he was, he is".
The controversy made it all the way to Spain’s King Juan Carlos, who gave his blessing to the marriage.
The duchess (pictured at right in 1956) first married in 1947 to a naval officer. Six years after he died in 1972, she created a scandal by marrying a defrocked Jesuit priest. He died in 2001 and she began a serious relationship with Diez, who has known her for 30 years.
In an effort to gain her children’s trust, Diez signed legal paper renouncing any claim to his new wife’s wealth.
Spanish matador Cayetano Rivera and his girlfriend Eva Gonzalez arrive for the wedding ceremony of the Duchess of Alba on Oct. 5.