Duchess Gives Up Fortune to Avoid Legal Battle Over Marriage

The Duchess of Alba, estimated to be worth $850 million and $5 billion, reportedly has agreed to give her fortune to her children to prove her intent to marry is based on love. The duchess, age 85, plans to marry Alfonso Diez, a civil servant who is 24 years younger.

The Spanish duchess’s six children had opposed the wedding. The duchess’ children were all from her first marriage to Pedro Luis Martinez de Irujo y Artazcoz, son of the Duke of Sotomayor. After he died in 1972, the duchess remarried 6 years later to a onetime Jesuit priest named Jesus Aguirre y Ortiz de Zarate. He passed away in 2001. The duchess has been friends with Diez for several years.

According to the Spanish newspaper El Pais, her eldest son Carlos will inherit the Liria Palace in Madrid and the Monterrey Palace in Salamanca. Her other palaces and thousands of hectares of land will be divided between her children and eight grandchildren, the report said.

According to Guinness World Records, Maria del Rosario Cayetana Alfonsa Victoria Eugenia Francisca Fitz-James Stuart y de Silva, born in Madrid’s Palacio de Liria, has more titles than any noble on Earth, being a duchess seven times over, a countess 22 times and a marquesa 24. As head of the 539-year-old House of Alba, her privileges include not having to kneel before the Pope and the right to ride on horseback into Seville cathedral.