Biography of María de las Mercedes de Borbón y Orleans (1910-2000)

Doña María de las Mercedes de Borbón

Spanish Aristocrat, Princess of the two Sicilies and Countess of Barcelona, and the mother of the King of Spain, Juan Carlos I.

He was born in Madrid, in a palatial site on paseo de la Castellana, on December 23, 1910 and died on January 2, 2000 in Lanzarote (Las Palmas). She was baptized on December 30, 1910, a week after his birth, at the Palacio Real in Madrid, sponsored by Queen María Cristina and the Jenaro Prince of Bourbon-Two Sicilies. It was the third of four children in the marriage between infante Don Carlos de Borbón (widower of the Infanta María de las Mercedes, eldest daughter of Alfonso XII and Alfonso XIIIsister), and the Princess Luisa de Orleans, daughter of the counts of Paris. The brothers of Doña María de las Mercedes were the Princes Carlos, pain and hope.

He spent the first years of his life in Madrid, where he studied at the College of the Irish mothers. To be named his father Captain General of Seville, the family moved to the capital of Andalusia, and she went on to the College of the Irish in this city, except for the year that was next to her sister in a boarding school of Castillejo. Educated in stiffer label, from an early age spoke perfect English and French, and, years later, it came to dominate also Italian and Portuguese.

She was proclaimed the second Republic in Spain on April 14, 1934, the family went into exile. The first destination was Gibraltar, and from there moved to Marseille, to make the leap to Cannes, and settle in Paris, where they remained until 1935. During these first years in the French capital, he continued his studies in painting and music at the Ecole du Louvre, extended with other subjects such as literature, history and arts.

On October 12, 1935 he married in Rome with his cousin, Don Juan de Borbon y Battenberg, who the resignations of his brothers to the dynastic rights had become successor of Alfonso XIII. After being received by Pope Pius XI, they departed on a journey of honeymoon and, a few months later, pregnant with their first child, the Spanish Civil War broke out.

Decided to take the fight, Don Juan crossed the Spanish border with a false passport, and, accompanied by his cousin, Juan Ignacio de Baviera, went to Burgos. There were recognized and, after being arrested, they were forced to return to Paris. In the town of Sena met with his wife, who had given birth to a baby girl on July 30 in Cannes, the Infanta Pilar. They then lived in Rome, where their other three children were born: Prince Juan Carlos, current King of Spain (1938), the infanta Margarita, Duchess of Soria (1939), and the infante Alfonso (1941). In 1946, in order to be closer to Spain, marriage moved to the Portuguese city of Estoril, and the children were sent to Spain to do their studies.

During the long time that lasted his exile, the infanta Mercedes stepped on several times Spanish land: in 1949 travelled to Seville on the occasion of the funeral of his father, in 1968 to Madrid to baptize his granddaughter Elena, and on a third occasion, five years later, when he returned to the Spanish capital, with her husband, to greet the Queen Victoria Eugeniawho came to Spain for amadrinar to his great grandson, Felipe.

It is highlighting its mediation between his son Juan Carlos and her husband, to which general Franco forced to renounce his rights to the throne in favour of the first. The difficult situation that had between them was resolved in 1977, two years after Franco's death, when the count of Barcelona gave the dynastic rights to his son, who then became the King of Spain.

On January 2, 2000, the Countess of Barcelona, died on the Canary Island of Lanzarote. She was a widow for seven years, after the death of her husband in a Pamplona hospital, as a result of cancer. Others several awards received during his lifetime include the Medal of honor awarded by the Spanish Association of friends of Goya, with which it was awarded in 1989 by his fondness for the bullfighting, and also the title of "Favorite daughter of Madrid", in 1991, for "outstanding services to the Spanish people and to Madrid".