The Duchess of Alba Gives Up $5 Billion for Love

Over the past week we’ve had to contend with civilian riots in London, the collapse of global stock markets, bombings in Pakistan. But bless, isn’t it nice to know that amidst the doom and gloom of the modern world, a phenomenally wealthy person has found true love?

But then, Spain’s Duchess of Alba has always been in a class all her own. There is, first of all, her name—María del Rosario Cayetana Paloma Alfonsa Victoria Eugenia Fernanda Teresa Francisca de Paula Lourdes Antonia Josefa Fausta Rita Castor Dorotea Santa Esperanza Fitz-James Stuart—which has doubtlessly served as inspiration for many a madrileño drinking game since her coronation in 1955.

And throughout her life, the Duchess has made headlines for over-the-topness that could put the current uproar over Kate Middleton’s vacation wardrobe to shame. Her lavish wedding to the Duke of Sotomayer in 1947 was one of the most expensive in history. Then she had the gall to marry a Jesuit priest. Oh, and she possesses the most number of titles ever bestowed upon a single living royal (47), including the Queen of England.

A distant relative of the late Princess Diana and a runner-up on Vanity Fair’s Best-Dressed List in 2009, these days the Duchess, 85, has reclaimed the limelight once more by boldly relinquishing her $5 billion fortune to marry civil servant Alfonso Diez. If you’re rich, how else do you prove your love? The inheritance, which includes a cluster of palaces and a priceless collection of Rembrandt paintings, will be divided among her six children and eight grandchildren.”Alfonso doesn’t want anything,” the Duchess insisted proudly in an interview earlier this year, “All he wants is me.” Her decision was made in response to protests from the younger royals. Apparently, the age gap between their mother and Alfonso was enough to cause concern that the latter may be a gold-digging toy boy. He’s 61.

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