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Alfonso XIII (Alfonso León Fernando María Jaime Isidro Pascual Antonio de Borbón y Austria-Lorena; anglicised: Alphonse Leon Ferdinand Mary James Isidor Pascal Anthony of Bourbon and Austria-Lorraine) (Madridmarker, 17 May 1886 – Romemarker, 28 February 1941), King of Spain, posthumous son of Alfonso XII of Spain, was proclaimed King at his birth. He reigned from 1886-1931. His mother, Queen Maria Christina, was appointed regent during his minority. In 1902, on attaining his 16th year, the King assumed control of the state.


Alfonso's reign began well. The French newspaper Le Figaro described the young king as "the happiest and best loved of all the rulers of the earth".

When he came of age in 1902, the week of his majority was marked by festivities, bullfights, balls and receptions throughout Spain.

During his reign Spainmarker lost its last colonies in the Americas (Cubamarker and Puerto Rico) and the Philippinesmarker; fought and, after several setbacks, won a war in Moroccomarker; witnessed the start of the Spanish Generation of 1927, and endured the dictatorship of Miguel Primo de Rivera, which ultimately cost him the throne.

During the First World War, because of his family connections with both sides and the division of popular opinion, Spain remained neutral. The king ran an office for captives from the Palacio de Orientemarker, which leveraged the Spanish diplomatic and military network abroad to intercede for thousands of prisoners of war, receiving and answering letters from Europe.

Alfonso was a promoter of tourism in Spain. The problems with 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 such as Real Sociedad, Real Madrid, Real Betis, and Real Unión.

When the Second Spanish Republic was proclaimed on 14 April 1931, he fled and left Spain, but did not abdicate the throne. He settled eventually in Romemarker where he lived in the Grand Hotel.

Once the Spanish Civil War broke out, Alfonso made it clear he favoured the military uprising against the Popular Front government, but General Francisco Franco in September 1936 declared that the Nationalists would never accept Alfonso as King (the supporters of the rival Carlist pretender made up an important part of the Franco Army). First he went into exile in Francemarker. Nevertheless, he sent his son, Juan de Borbon, Count of Barcelona, to enter Spain in 1936 and participate in the uprising. However, near the French border, General Mola had him arrested and expelled from the country.

On 15 January 1941, Alfonso XIII abdicated his rights to the Spanish throne in favour of his third (of four), but second-surviving, son Juan, father of the current King, Juan Carlos. He died in Rome a month-and-a-half later.

The Spanish government ordered three days of national mourning. His funeral was held in Rome in the Church of Santa Maria degli Angeli. He was buried in the Church of Santa Maria in Monserratomarker, the Spanish national church in Rome, immediately below the tombs of Pope Calixtus III and Pope Alexander VI. In January 1980 his remains were transferred to El Escorialmarker in Spain.

Marriage and children

On 31 May 1906, at the Royal Monastery of San Geronimo in Madridmarker, Alfonso married Scottish-born Princess Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg (1887-1969), a niece of King Edward VII of the United Kingdom, and a granddaughter of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom. A Serene Highness by birth, Ena, as she was known, was raised to Royal Highness status a month before her wedding to prevent the union from being viewed as unequal.

As Alfonso XIII and Ena were returning from the wedding, they narrowly escaped an assassination attempted by the anarchist Mateu Morral; instead, the bomb explosion killed or injured many bystanders and members of the royal procession.

Alfonso and Ena had seven children:

Illegitimate issue

The King also had four illegitimate children:

By French aristocrat Mélanie de Gaufridy de Dortan (Dompierre-les-Ormesmarker, 31 August 1876 - Parismarker, 23 October 1937), daughter of Roger de Gaufridy de Dortan (1843 - 1905) and wife Adélaïde de Verdonnet (1853 - 1918), married on 7 July 1900 to Philippe Lévêque de Vilmorin (Verrières-le-Buisson, 21 May 1872 - Verrières-le-Buisson, 29 June 1917), by whom she had two daughters and two sons (Marie Lévêque de Vilmorin, married to Guy de Toulouse-Lautrec, Comte de Toulouse-Lautrec and a relative of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, without issue, Louise Lévêque de Vilmorin (Verrières-le-Buisson, 4 April 1902 – 26 December 1969), married firstly in Parismarker on 12 March 1925 to Henry Leigh-Hunt (Des Moinesmarker, Polk Countymarker, Iowamarker, 17 October 1886 - Neuilly, 21 March 1972), and had issue, and married secondly in Bratislavamarker on 27 January 1938 as his fifth of eight wives to Pál Gróf Erdödi Pálffy (Viennamarker, 12 February 1890 - Untergiesing-Harlachingmarker, 11 October 1968), without issue; Olivier Lévêque de Vilmorin, and André Lévêque de Vilmorin; despite the resemblances of Louise with Alfonso XIII and even his also illegitimate half-sister Ana María Teresa, she was never claimed to be his daughter):
  • Roger Marie Vincent Philippe Lévêque de Vilmorin (Verrières-le-Buisson, 12 September 1905 - Parismarker, 20 July 1980), married in Nicemarker on 16 January 1926 to Pauline Roissard de Bellet (Parismarker, 31 March 1892 - bef. 1945), daughter of Jean Baron Roissard de Bellet and wife Elizabeth Prodgers, and had issue, and married secondly in Parismarker on 12 February 1945 as her second husband Edith Alice Cecile Lowther (Londonmarker, 2 August 1906 - ?), daughter of the 1st Baronets Lowther, and had issue:
    • Nicolas Lévêque de Vilmorin (b. 21 August 1928), married to Irène Thenard, without issue
    • Jean-Baptiste Lévêque de Vilmorin (b. Parismarker, 11 January 1930), married firstly and divorced as her second husband to Geneviève Fontenay (Oranmarker, 21 November 1930 - Saint-Paul, 14 April 1987), already divorced from her first husband, daughter of Roger Fontenay and wife Germaine Martin, who married thirdly François Giscard d'Estaing uncle of Valéry Giscard d'Estaing and later husband of ... Cazin d' Honincthun, without issue, and married secondly to Monique Latil, without issue
    • Elisabeth Lévêque de Vilmorin (b. Parismarker, 11 January 1930), married to Arnaud Baron de Lassus, without issue
    • Sophie Lévêque de Vilmorin (b. 22 January 1931), married to Robert Miles-Reincke, without issue
    • Claire Lévêque de Vilmorin (b. 20 August 1933), unmarried and without issue
    • Eleonore Lévêque de Vilmorin (b. Neuilly-sur-Seine, 28 February 1947), married firstly in Verrières-le-Buisson on 12 April 1972 and divorced Guy-Raoul Marie Jacques de Dampierre (b. Saint-Mandé, 5 January 1938), without issue (he later married Ismène de Saint-Anthost and had a son Matthias de Dampierre, b. 1982), and married secondly in Parismarker on 3 May 1980 her first husband's cousin Aymeric de Dampierre (b. Parismarker, 12 January 1947), without issue
    • Philippa Victoire Lévêque de Vilmorín (b. Boulogne-Billancourt, 11 November 1948), unmarried and without issue

By Spanish actress María del Carmen Ruíz y Moragas (1898 - Madridmarker, 11 June 1936), married in Granadamarker on 18 November 1917 to Rodolfo Gaona y Jiménez (León de Las Aldamasmarker, Guanajuatomarker, 22 January 1888 - Mexico Citymarker, 20 May 1975), without issue, and daughter of Leandro Antolín Ruíz y Martínez, born in Almadénmarker, and wife María de las Mercedes Moragas y Pareja, born in Málagamarker:
  • Ana María Teresa Ruíz y Moragas (Madridmarker, 9 October 1925 - Florencemarker, 6 September 1965), married in Madridmarker on 26 October 1957 Arnoldo Bürgisser y Hufenus (Florencemarker, 9 January 1927 - Florencemarker, 21 December 1993), son of Louis Bürgisser and wife Agnèse Hufenus, and had issue:
    • Leandro Bürgisser (b. Florencemarker, 25 September 1958), married to Teresa Sancristoforo (b. Genoamarker, 13 October 1961), and had issue:
      • Cristoforo Bürgisser (b. Florencemarker, 29 October 1999)
      • Tea Bürgisser (b. Florencemarker, 8 October 2001)
    • María del Carmen Bürgisser (b. 1959), unmarried and without issue
  • Leandro Alfonso Luis Ruíz y Moragas (b. Madridmarker, 26 April 1929), officially recognized by Spanish Courts on 21 May 2003 as Leandro Alfonso Luis de Borbón y Ruíz Moragas, married firstly in June 1952 to María del Rosario Vidal y de Barnola (- 1992), daughter of Eduardo Vidal y ... and wife ... de Barnola y ..., and had issue, and married secondly in 1982 to María de la Concepción de Mora y ..., daughter of Manuel de Mora y ... (- Madridmarker, 1971), and wife ..., and had issue:
    • María Cristina de Borbón y Vidal (b. 1953), married to ... Tejón y ..., and had issue:
      • Juan Tejón y de Borbón (b. 1977)
      • Javier Tejón y de Borbón (b. 1981)
      • Pilar Tejón y de Borbón (b. 1984)
    • Alfonso de Borbón y Vidal (Madridmarker, 1955 - 2000), married in San Lorenzo de El Escorialmarker on 6 May 2000 to ..., without issue
    • María Blanca de Borbón y Vidal (b. Madridmarker, 1956), married to Jesús Mateos y Morillo, and had issue:
      • Pablo Mateos y de Borbón (b. 2000)
    • Eduardo de Borbón y Vidal (b. 1956), married to ... Garde y ..., and had issue:
      • Almudena de Borbón y Garde (b. 1985)
      • Eduardo de Borbón y Garde (b. 1992)
    • María Luisa de Borbón y Vidal (1957-1959 - 1961)
    • María de las Mercedes de Borbón y Vidal (b. Madridmarker, 1960), married to Luis de Sautú y Acha, without issue

By Béatrice Noon:
  • Juana Alfonsa Milán y Quiñones de León (Parismarker, 19 April 1916 - Madridmarker, 16 May 2005), and had issue by an unknown father, three sons and one daughter:
    • ... Milán y Quiñones de León
    • ... Milán y Quiñones de León
    • Pierre Milán y Quiñones de León
    • María de la Soledad Milán y Quiñones de León




  1. [ "The Happiest Living Monarch,"] New York Times. 14 August 1889.
  2. "Alfonso's Reign Begins on 17 May; He Will Take the Oath on That Day -- Festivities to Last a Week," New York Times, 29 March 1902.
  3. "Mourning in Spain", The Times (3 March 1941): 3.
  4. "Italians to Mourn Death of Alfonso," The New York Times. 2 March 1941.
  5. "21 Guns for Dead King's Homecoming", The Times (21 January 1980): 4.
  6. Collier, William Miller. (1912). At the Court of His Catholic Majesty, pp.35-36; Order of the Golden Fleece.
  7. Miller, pp. 37-38; Orden de Carlos III (in Spanish).
  8. Miller, pp. 39-39; Order of Santiago.
  9. Miller, pp. 39-39; Order of Calatrava.
  10. Miller, pp. 39-39; Order of Alcántara.
  11. Miller, pp. 39-39; Order of Montesa.
  12. "Japan to Decorate King Alfonso Today; Emperor's Brother Nears Madrid With Collar of the Chrysanthemum for Spanish King," New York Times, 3 November 1930; see also Nutail, Zelia. (1906). The Earliest Historical Relations Between Mexico and Japan, p. 2.


  • Churchill, Winston. Great Contemporaries. London: T. Butterworth, 1937. Contains the most famous single account of Alfonso in the English language. The author, writing shortly after the Spanish Civil War began, retained considerable fondness for the ex-sovereign.

  • Noel, Gerard. Ena: Spain's English Queen. London: Constable, 1985. Considerably more candid than Petrie about Alfonso the private man, and about the miseries the royal family experienced because of their hemophiliac children.

  • Petrie, Charles. King Alfonso XIII and His Age. London: Chapman & Hall, 1963. Written as it was during Queen Ena's lifetime, this book necessarily omits the King's extramarital affairs; but it remains a useful biography, not least because the author knew Alfonso quite well, interviewed him at considerable length, and relates him to the Spanish culture of his time.

  • Pilapil, Vicente R. Alfonso XIII. Twayne's rulers and statesmen of the world series 12. New York: Twayne, 1969.

  • Sencourt, Robert. King Alfonso: A Biography. London: Faber, 1942.

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