Afonso XIII de España

Rome, Rome, Lazio, Italy

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King Alfonso XIII "el Africano" León Fernando María Jaime Isidro Pascual Antonio of Borbón and Habsburg-Lorraine (Borbon), King of Spain

Spanish: Alfonso XIII León Fernando María Jaime Isidro Pascual Antonio de Borbón y Habsburgo-Lorena, Rey de España
Also Known As: "Alfonso León Fernando Maria Jaime Isidro Pascual Antonio de Borbon y Austria-Lorena"
Birthdate: (54)
Birthplace: Royal Palace,, Madrid, España
Death: February 28, 1941 (54)
Roma, Lazio, Italia (Angina pectoris)
Place of Burial: Escorial, Madrid, España
Immediate Family:

Son of Alfonso XII, Rey de España and Maria Cristina de Austria y Habsburgo-Lorena, Reina consorte y regente de España
Husband of Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg, Queen of Spain and Beatrice Noon
Partner of Maria del Carmen Ruíz y Moragas
Father of Beatriz de Borbón y Battenberg Infanta de España; Infanta Maria Cristina of Spain, Contessa Marone; Juan de Borbón, conde de Barcelona; Gonzalo de Borbón y Battenberg, infante de España; Alfonso de Borbón y Battenberg, príncipe de Asturias and 8 others
Brother of Maria de las Mercedes Isabel Teresa Christina Alfonsa Jacinta de Borbón y Habsburgo-Lorena, Infanta de España and María Teresa Isabel Eugenia del Patrocinio Diega de Borbón y Hasburgo-Lorena, Infanta de España
Half brother of Alfonso Sanz y Martínez de Arizala and Fernando Sanz y Martinez de Arizala

Occupation: King of Spain
Managed by: Noah Tutak
Last Updated:

About Afonso XIII de España


Predecessor: Alfonso XII Successor: Juan Carlos I in 1975

Alfonso XIII was King of Spain from 1886 until the proclamation of the Second Republic in 1931. Alfonso was monarch from birth as his father, Alfonso XII, had died the previous year. Alfonso's mother, Maria Christina of Austria, served as regent until he assumed full powers on his sixteenth birthday in 1902.

During Alfonso's reign Spain experienced four major problems that contributed to the end of the liberal monarchy: the lack of real political representation of broad social groups, the poor situation of the popular classes, especially peasants, problems arising from the Rif War and Catalan nationalism. This political and social turbulence that began with the Spanish–American War prevented the turnaround parties from establishing a true liberal democracy, which led to the establishment of the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera. With the political failure of the dictatorship, Alfonso impelled a return to the democratic normality with the intention of regenerating the regime. Nevertheless, it was abandoned by all political classes, as they felt betrayed by the king's support of the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera.

He left Spain voluntarily after the municipal elections of April 1931, that was taken as a plebiscite between monarchy or republic. In exile, he retained his claim to the defunct throne until 1941, when he renounced his claim in favour of his third son Juan (whose eldest son, Juan Carlos, did eventually become king when the monarchy was restored) and died six weeks later. Buried in Rome, his remains were not transferred until 1980 to the Pantheon of the Kings in the monastery of El Escorial.

Alfonso was born in Madrid on 17 May 1886. He was the posthumous son of Alfonso XII of Spain, who had died in November 1885, and became King of Spain upon his birth. Just after he was born, he was carried naked to the Spanish prime minister on a silver tray. Five days later he was carried in a solemn court procession with a golden fleece round his neck and was baptized with water specially brought from the River Jordan in Palestine. The French newspaper Le Figaro described the young king in 1889 as "the happiest and best-loved of all the rulers of the earth". His mother, Maria Christina of Austria, served as his regent until his 16th birthday. During the regency, in 1898, Spain lost its colonial rule over Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Philippines to the United States as a result of the Spanish–American War.

When he came of age in May 1902, the week of his majority was marked by festivities, bullfights, balls and receptions throughout Spain. He took his oath to the constitution before members of the Cortes on 17 May.

The Nine Sovereigns at Windsor for the funeral of King Edward VII, photographed on 20 May 1910. Standing, from left to right: King Haakon VII of Norway, Tsar Ferdinand of the Bulgarians, King Manuel II of Portugal and the Algarve, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany and Prussia, King George I of the Hellenes and King Albert I of the Belgians. Seated, from left to right: King Alfonso XIII of Spain, King George V of the United Kingdom and King Frederick VIII of Denmark. By 1905, Alfonso was looking for a suitable consort. On a state visit to the United Kingdom, he stayed at Buckingham Palace with King Edward VII. There he met Princess Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg, the Scottish-born daughter of Edward's youngest sister Princess Beatrice, and a granddaughter of Queen Victoria. He found her attractive, and she returned his interest. There were obstacles to the marriage. Victoria was a Protestant, and would have to become a Catholic. Victoria's brother Leopold was a haemophiliac, so there was a 50 percent chance that Victoria was a carrier of the trait. Finally, Alfonso's mother Maria Christina wanted him to marry a member of her family, the House of Habsburg-Lorraine or some other Catholic princess, as she considered the Battenbergs to be non-dynastic.

Victoria was willing to change her religion, and her being a haemophilia carrier was only a possibility. Maria Christina was eventually persuaded to drop her opposition. In January 1906 she wrote an official letter to Princess Beatrice proposing the match. Victoria met Maria Christina and Alfonso in Biarritz, France, later that month, and converted to Catholicism in San Sebastián in March.

In May, diplomats of both kingdoms officially executed the agreement of marriage. Alfonso and Victoria were married at the Royal Monastery of San Jerónimo in Madrid on 31 May 1906, with British royalty in attendance, including Victoria's cousins the Prince and Princess of Wales (later King George V and Queen Mary). The wedding was marred by an assassination attempt on Alfonso and Victoria by Catalan anarchist Mateu Morral. As the wedding procession returned to the palace, he threw a bomb from a window which killed or injured several bystanders and members of the procession.

On 10 May 1907, the couple's first child, Alfonso, Prince of Asturias, was born. However, Victoria was in fact a haemophilia carrier, and Alfonso inherited the condition.

Neither of the two daughters born to the King and Queen were haemophilia carriers, but another of their sons, Gonzalo (1914–1934), had the condition. Alfonso distanced himself from his Queen for transmitting the condition to their sons.

From 1914 on, he had several mistresses, and fathered five illegitimate children. A sixth illegitimate child had been born before his marriage.

During World War I, because of his family connections with both sides and the division of popular opinion, Spain remained neutral.[6] The King established an office for assistance to prisoners of war on all sides. This office used the Spanish diplomatic and military network abroad to intercede for thousands of POWs – transmitting and receiving letters for them, and other services. The office was located in the Royal Palace.

Alfonso became gravely ill during the 1918 flu pandemic. Spain was neutral and thus under no wartime censorship restrictions, so his illness and subsequent recovery were reported to the world, while flu outbreaks in the belligerent countries were concealed. This gave the misleading impression that Spain was the most-affected area and led to the pandemic being dubbed "the Spanish Flu."

Following World War I, Spain entered the lengthy yet victorious Rif War (1920–1926) to preserve its colonial rule over northern Morocco. Critics of the monarchy thought the war was an unforgivable loss of money and lives, and nicknamed Alfonso el Africano ("the African"). Alfonso had not acted as a strict constitutional monarch, and supported the Africanists who wanted to conquer for Spain a new empire in Africa to compensate for the lost empire in the Americas and Asia. The Rif War had starkly polarized Spanish society between the Africanists who wanted to conquer an empire in Africa vs. the abandonistas who wanted to abandon Morocco as not worth the blood and treasure. Alfonso liked to play favourites with his generals, and one of his most favored generals was Manuel Fernández Silvestre. In 1921, when Silvestre advanced up into the Rif mountains of Morocco, Alfonso sent him a telegram whose first line read "Hurrah for real men!", urging Silvestre not to retreat at a time when Silvestre was experiencing major difficulties. Silvestre stayed the course, leading his men into the Battle of Annual, one of Spain's worst defeats. Alfonso, who was on holiday in the south of France at the time, was informed of the "Disaster of the Annual" while he was playing golf. Reportedly, Alfonso's response to the news was to shrug his shoulders and say "Chicken meat is cheap", before resuming his game of golf. Alfonso remained in France and did not return to Spain to comfort the families of the soldiers lost at the "Disaster of the Annual", which many people at the time saw as a callous and cold act, a sign that the King couldn't care less about the lives of his soldiers. In 1922, the Cortes started an investigation into the responsibility for the Annual disaster and soon discovered evidence that the King had been one of the main supporters of Silvestre's advance into the Rif mountains.

After the "Disaster of the Annual", Spain's war in the Rif went from bad to worse, and as the Spanish were barely hanging onto Morocco, support for the abandonistas grew as many people could see no point to the war. In August 1923, Spanish soldiers embarking for Morocco mutinied, other soldiers in Malaga simply refused to board the ships that were to take them to Morocco, while in Barcelona huge crowds of left-wingers had staged anti-war protests at which Spanish flags were burned while the flag of the Rif Republic was waved about. With the Africanists comprising only a minority, it was clear that it was only a matter of time before the abandonistas forced the Spanish to give up on the Rif, which was part of the reason for the military coup d'état later in 1923. On September 13, 1923, General Miguel Primo de Rivera, 2nd Marqués de Estella, seized power in a military coup. He ruled as a dictator with Alfonso's support until 1930. It is believed that one of Alfonso's main reasons for supporting the coup was his desire to suppress the publication of the damning Cortes report into the Annual disaster. The poetic Generation of '27 and Catalan and Basque nationalism grew in this era

In January 1930, due to economic problems and general unpopularity, the 2nd Marqués de Estella resigned as Prime Minister. Alfonso, as the Marqués's ally, shared the popular dislike. The King had so closely associated with the Primo de Rivera dictatorship that it was difficult for him to distance himself from the regime he had supported for almost 7 years. In April 1931, General Le Marqués del Rif told him even the army was not loyal. On 12 April, the republican parties won a landslide victory in municipal elections. The municipal elections were fought as a virtual referendum on the future of the monarchy. On 14 April, he fled the country as the Second Spanish Republic was proclaimed, but did not formally abdicate. He settled eventually in Rome.

By a law of 26 November 1931, Alfonso was accused by the Cortes of high treason. This law would later be repealed by a new law dated 15 December 1938, signed by Francisco Franco.

In 1933, his two eldest sons, Alfonso and Jaime, renounced their claims to the throne, and in 1934 his youngest son Gonzalo died. This left his third son Juan, Count of Barcelona his only male heir. Juan later was the father of Juan Carlos I.

When the Army rose up against the democratically elected Republican Government, war broke out, Alfonso made it clear he favoured the "Nationalist" military rebels against the Republic. But in September 1936 the Nationalist leader, General Francisco Franco, declared that the Nationalists would not restore Alfonso as king. (The Nationalist army included many Carlist supporters of a rival pretender.)

Nevertheless, he sent his son Juan to Spain in 1936, to participate in the uprising. However, General Mola had Juan arrested near the French border and expelled from the country.

On 29 September 1936, upon the death of Infante Alfonso Carlos, Duke of San Jaime (the Carlist pretender), Alfonso also became the senior heir of Hugh Capet and so was hailed by some French legitimists as King Alphonse I of France and Navarre.

On 15 January 1941, Alfonso XIII abdicated his rights to the defunct Spanish throne in favour of Juan. He died in Rome on 28 February of that year.

In Spain, the dictator Franco ordered three days of national mourning. His funeral was held in Rome in the Church of Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri. Alfonso was buried in the Church of Santa Maria in Monserrato degli Spagnoli, the Spanish national church in Rome, immediately below the tombs of Pope Callixtus III and Pope Alexander VI. In January 1980 his remains were transferred to El Escorial in Spain.

Alfonso was a promoter of tourism in Spain. The need for the lodging of his wedding guests prompted the construction of the luxury Hotel Palace in Madrid. He also supported the creation of a network of state-run lodges (Parador) in historic buildings of Spain. His fondness for the sport of football led to the patronage of several "Royal" ("Real" in Spanish) football clubs, the first being Real Club Deportivo de La Coruña in 1907. Selected others include Real Madrid, Real Sociedad, Real Betis, Real Unión, Espanyol and Real Zaragoza.

Alfonso XIII appears as "King Buby" in Luis Coloma's story of Ratoncito Pérez (1894), which was written for the King when he was 8 years old. The story of Ratoncito Pérez has been adapted into further literary works and movies since then, with the character of Alfonso XIII appearing in some. Alfonso XIII is also mentioned on the plaque to Ratoncito Pérez on the second floor of "la calle del Arenal".

Main article: Descendants of Alfonso XIII of Spain On 31 May 1906, Alfonso married Scottish-born Princess Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg (1887–1969). Only entitled to the style of Serene Highness by birth, Ena, as she was known, was granted the higher honorific of Royal Highness one month before her wedding.

Alfonso and Ena had six surviving children: Name Birth Death Marriage Their children Date Spouse Alfonso, Prince of Asturias 10 May 1907 6 September 1938 21 June 1933 Divorced 8 May 1937 Edelmira Sampedro y Robato 3 July 1937 Divorced 8 January 1938 Marta Esther Rocafort-Altuzarra Infante Jaime, Duke of Segovia 23 June 1908 20 March 1975 4 March 1935 Divorced 6 May 1947 Emmanuelle de Dampierre Alfonso, Duke of Anjou and Cádiz Gonzalo, Duke of Aquitaine 3 August 1949 Charlotte Luise Auguste Tiedemann Infanta Beatriz 22 June 1909 22 November 2002 14 January 1935 Alessandro Torlonia, 5th Prince of Civitella-Cesi Doña Sandra Marco Torlonia, 6th Prince of Civitella-Cesi Don Marino Doña Olimpia Infante Fernando stillborn, 1910 1910 Infanta Maria Cristina 1911 1996 Enrico Eugenio Marone-Cinzano, 1st Conte Marone-Cinzano Infante Juan, Count of Barcelona[23] heir-apparent to the throne 1941–1969, Count of Barcelona. 1913 1993 Princess María Mercedes of Bourbon-Two Sicilies Infanta Pilar, Duchess of Badajoz Juan Carlos I of Spain Infanta Margarita, Duchess of Soria and Hernani Infante Alfonso Infante Gonzalo 1914 1934, a haemophiliac, like his elder brother Alfonso. He died due to bleeding from injuries suffered in a car crash. Illegitimate issue[edit] Alfonso also had six known illegitimate children:

By French aristocrat Mélanie de Gaufridy de Dortan (1876–1937), married to Philippe de Vilmorin, he had

Roger Marie Vincent Philippe Lévêque de Vilmorin (12 September 1905 – 20 July 1980)[24][25] By Pauline of Saint Glen, he had

Charles Maxime Victor of Saint Glen (3 July 1914 – 20 May 1934). By Béatrice Noon, he had

Juana Alfonsa Milán y Quiñones de León (19 April 1916 – 16 May 2005) By Spanish actress María del Carmen Ruiz y Moragas (1898–1936):

Ana María Teresa Ruiz y Moragas (9 October 1925 – 6 September 1965) Leandro Alfonso Luis Ruiz y Moragas (born 26 April 1929, died 18 June 2016), officially recognized by Spanish Courts on 21 May 2003 as Leandro Alfonso Luis de Borbón y Ruiz Moragas By Marie Sousa, he had

Alonso of Borbon Sousa (28 December 1930 – 30 April 1934).

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Afonso XIII de España's Timeline

May 17, 1886
Madrid, España
May 17, 1886
- April 14, 1931
Madrid, Madrid, Community of Madrid
May 17, 1886
- January 28, 1918
Tarnia, Estovakia, Bahrenburg
June 21, 1886
Madrid, Madrid, Community of Madrid, Spain
September 12, 1905
Age 19
Verrières-le-Buisson, Essonne, Île-de-France, France
May 10, 1907
Age 20
Madrid, Spain
May 10, 1907
Age 20
Madrid, Madrid, Community of Madrid, Spain
June 23, 1908
Age 22
San Ildefonso, CL, España
June 23, 1908
Age 22
Segovia, Segovia, Castile and León, Spain