Maria del Rosario Cayetana Fitz-James Stuart had more titles than any other aristocrat and owned palaces and an extensive property portfolio as well as paintings by Goya and Velazquez. She died at home on Thursday after a short illness. The duchess is survived by her husband of three years, Alfonso Diez, who is 25 years her junior. The Duchess of Alba was the head of one of Spain’s oldest noble families.
BBC.com–Spain’s ‘rebel noble’, by Fiona Govan, Madrid–The frizzy-haired eccentric aristocrat was one of Spain’s most-loved figures whose antics filled the nation’s gossip magazines and gripped the audiences of TV chat shows even during the final months of her long life. Described as the “rebel noble”, she spurned convention to forge her own path in life, following her passion for flamenco and, as a patron of the arts, amassing a private collection of masterpieces said to rival any in Europe. Her exuberant character, complete with squeaky voice and flamboyant dress-sense, enraptured Spaniards who followed the vicissitudes of her 88 years.
Read more and see video and photo album on BBC.com: Spain’s Richest Aristocrat Dies Aged 88