Madrid: One of the Spain`s richest nobles is to marry at the age of 85, wedding a man 25 years her junior despite initial opposition from her children.
The Duchess of Alba released a statement on Tuesday saying she`ll tie the knot with Alfonso Diez, 60, in early October. He is a civil servant in the government`s social security administration, and this would be her third marriage.
The Duchess` offspring have been known to oppose the marriage. She said in a rare interview early this year she wanted to wed Diez but her children were against the idea.
In July, however, she apparently placated them by dividing up much of her vast wealth among them, assigning castles, palaces and other property of the 500-year-old House of Alba which they will inherit upon her death.
They are reported to be satisfied with the divvying up of her estate, and media have since been speculating as to when wedding bells might toll.
Tuesday`s statement did not give an exact date or say where the nuptials will be held, although the duchess usually lives in Seville.
The wedding will be an intimate ceremony attended by few people, including her six children and their current spouses, some former daughters-in-law — all of her children have been divorced — and a popular bullfighter named Francisco Rivera Ordonez, who used to be married to the duchess`s only daughter, Eugenia.
The Duchess is a distant relative of Queen Elizabeth and Winston Churchill. She and Diez are acquaintances from way back but started dating about three years ago after bumping into each other at a movie theatre. She was a widow then.
Her full name: Maria del Rosario Cayetana Alfonsa Victoria Eugenia Francisca Fitz-James Stuart y de Silva.
Spanish media say her wealth is estimated at ranging from EUR 600 million (USD 856 million) to EUR 3.5 billion (USD 5 billion). It includes paintings by Goya and Velazquez and a first edition copy of Cervantes` "Don Quixote”.
The Duchess — a frequent fixture on the covers of Spain`s voracious gossip magazines, which cover her every move — said only one photographer would be present at the wedding, and would distribute shots to other media.
"With this statement, I would appreciate it if the press stopped speculating and respected my privacy," she wrote.