Infanta Beatriz of Spain

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Beatriz de Borbón y Battenberg
Infanta of Spain; Princess di Civitella-Cesi
Born (1909-06-22)22 June 1909
Segovia, Spain
Died 22 November 2002(2002-11-22) (aged 93)
Rome, Italy
Spouse Alessandro Torlonia, 5th Prince of Civitella-Cesi (m. 1935)
Issue Donna Sandra, Countess Lequio di Assaba
Marco Torlonia, 6th Prince di Civitella-Cesi
Don Marino Torlonia
Donna Olimpia, Mrs. Weiller
Full name
Spanish: Beatriz Isabel Federica Alfonsa Eugenia Cristina
House Bourbon
Father Alfonso XIII
Mother Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg
Religion Roman Catholicism

Infanta Beatriz of Spain, Princess di Civitella-Cesi (Doña Beatriz de Borbón y Battenberg; 22 June 1909 – 22 November 2002) was a daughter of King Alfonso XIII of Spain and Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg, wife of Alessandro Torlonia, 5th Prince di Civitella-Cesi. She was a paternal aunt of King Juan Carlos I.


Born at the royal palace of La Granja, San Ildefonso near Segovia, Spain on 22 June 1909, Infanta Beatriz was the third child among the six surviving children of King Alfonso XIII of Spain and Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg.[1] She was christened Beatriz Isabel Federica Alfonsa Eugenia Cristina. She was named Beatriz after her maternal grandmother, Princess Beatrice of the United Kingdom, the youngest daughter of Queen Victoria; Isabel for her great-aunt, Infanta Isabel; Federica for Princess Frederica of Hanover in whose house her parents had become engaged; Alfonsa after her father; Eugenia for Empress Eugénie of the French, her mother's godmother, and Cristina for her paternal grandmother.[2]

Infanta Beatriz was educated within the walls of the Palacio de Oriente by English nannies. She learned English and French. The children spoke in English to their mother and Spanish to their father.[2] Infanta Beatriz and her sister Maria Cristina, two years her junior, yearned to go to private schools like the daughters of the nobility who frequented the palace as their playmates, but, following Spanish tradition, they were educated by governesses and privates tutors.[2] They studied languages, history, religion and took piano and dancing lessons.[3] Their parents placed great importance on outdoor exercise and Infanta Beatriz became fond of sports.[4] She was a very good swimmer, played tennis and golf and loved horseback riding.[5][4] While in Madrid she played in the palace gardens and made excursions on horseback.[6] In summer the royal family moved to Palacio de la Magdalena, near Santander, where they practiced water sports. The two sisters also made some visits to England to stay with their maternal grandmother at Kensington Palace.[7]

Early life

During the late 1920s, Infanta Beatriz and her sister Infanta Cristina presided at a number of official engagements while heading various institutions and sponsoring events.[4] They were involved with, among other issues, animal protection.[4] Beatriz and her sister took nursing classes, helping twice a week at the Red Cross in Madrid from 9 am to 1 pm and from 3 to 7 pm.[4] Beatriz was president of the Red Cross in San Sebastián, working there during the royal family's summer vacation. [4]The two infantas, always elegantly dressed, were of contrasting looks; one blonde one dark.[8] Beatriz, who resembled her Spanish relatives, was a brunette, tall and lean like her father.[8] Her official debut in society was celebrated in 1927 with a court ball at the royal palace. Among her friends were the Dukes of Alba, Fernán Nuñez and Aveyro.[7] The shadow of hemophilia marked her life: Her eldest and youngest brothers were hemophiliacs. Her second brother, Jaime, was deaf and only the third brother, Juan, was completely healthy.[9]

In 1929, Infanta Beatriz turned twenty years old. She fell in love with Miguel Primo de Rivera y Sáenz de Heredia, the youngest son of Miguel Primo de Rivera, who served as Prime Minister of Spain from 1923 to January 1930 with dictatorial powers.[10] They were seen taking horse rides together, but a marriage between them was out of the question. When the dictator found out about their romance, he sent his son abroad.[10] Because Beatriz and her sister could be carriers of hemophilia, like their mother, King Alphonso XIII was reluctant to follow the tradition of finding husbands for them among Catholic royal princes.[11] The two sisters' constant companions were their cousins Alonso, Alvaro and Ataúlfo d'Orléans, the three sons of Infante Alfonso de Orleans y Borbón.[12] It was expected that Infanta Beatriz would marry Alonso and Maria Cristina, Alvaro, but nothing came out of it as their companionship was interrupted when the turbulent political situation in Spain derailed their lives.[8]


The support that Alfonso XIII gave to the unpopular dictatorship of Primo de Rivera discredited the king. Municipal elections, held on April 12 1931, were unfavorable to the monarchy. The Second Spanish Republic was proclaimed two days later.[13] Lacking the backing of the military forces, King Alfonso felt obliged to leave the country the same day, but did not abdicate, hoping to be called back to the throne. Infanta Beatriz, her mother and her siblings, except for Infante Don Juan, who was away on assignment in the Spanish navy, were left behind in Madrid. Following the advice of her supporters, the queen and her five children left the Royal Palace by car to El Escorial, and from there, they took a train to France.

The royal family's first home in exile was the Hôtel Meurice in Paris. They soon moved to a private wing of the Savoy Hotel in Fontainebleau.[14] Accompanied by their mother, the two infantas made visits to Paris twice a week by car or with a lady in waiting by train.[15] While in Paris they spent time with horses at a riding school or playing tennis with friends.[15] The marriage of their parents was unhappy and even in Spain the King and Queen led separate lives. Once in exile, the royal couple separated permanently.[15] Queen Victoria Eugenie moved to London and later to Lausanne, Switzerland and the two infantas lived for a time with her.[16] In 1933 the king moved to Rapallo and as life was too isolated for Beatriz and her sister in Lausanne, they moved with their father to Italy.[17] At their daughters' insistence, King Alfonso moved to Rome and rented a house for them there.[16] Infanta Beatriz and her sister became friends with the members of the Italian royal family and quickly adapted to life in Rome.[18]

In 1934 tragedy struck. Beatriz, who was spending summer vacation in Pörtschach am Wörthersee in Austria, was driving a car with her brother Gonzalo as passenger. Trying to avoid a bicycle rider who had crossed their path, she slammed the car into a wall. The accident did not, at first, seemed serious, but Infante Gonzalo, a hemophiliac, was bleeding internally and died in the early hours of the following day, 13 August 1934.[19][20]

Marriage and issue

Letterhead of Infanta Beatriz, Princess of Civitella-Cesi.

At the time of her brother’s death, Infanta Beatriz was looking forward to her wedding. While visiting Ostia, she was introduced to an Italian aristocrat, Alessandro Torlonia, 5th Prince di Civitella-Cesi.[21] Torlonia, who had inherited large estates from his father in 1933, was the son of Marino, 4th Prince di Civitella-Cesi and Mary Elsie Moore, an American heiress.[21] His family had acquired a fortune in the 18th and 19th centuries by administering the finances of the Vatican, receiving the title of "Prince di Civitella-Cesi" in 1803 from Pope Pius VII.[21]Although Don Alessandro was a prince, he did not belong to a reigning or formerly reigning dynasty so Beatriz had to marry him morganatically,[22][23][24] renouncing her rights of succession to the throne of Spain.[25] Alfonso XIII, realizing that the combination of the threat of hemophilia and their situation in exile would make it difficult for his daughters to find royal husbands, gave his consent to this union.

The wedding took place on 14 January 1935 at the Santa Maria in Trastevere Basilica with Beatriz wearing a 20-foot train, a coronet of orange blossom holding her veil in place, in the presence of King Alfonso, the King and Queen of Italy and some 52 princes of the blood royal. Thousands of Spaniards traveled from Spain to give support to the deposed royal family in what became a political event. However, neither Queen Victoria Eugenie nor Beatriz’s eldest brother, Alfonso, Count of Covadonga, who were on bad terms with the King, attended the wedding.[26] After the ceremony, the young couple was received by Pope Pius XI.

Infanta Beatriz of Spain, Princess di Civitella-Cesi, and her husband had four children:

  • Doña Sandra Torlonia dei principi di Civitella-Cesi (14 February 1936 - 31 December 2014),[27] who married Count Clemente Lecquio di Assaba (9 December 1925 – 28 June 1971), and had issue
  • Don Marco Torlonia (2 July 1937 – 5 December 2014), later 6th Prince di Civitella-Cesi, who married (1) Donna Orsetta Caracciolo dei Principi di Castagneto (17 May 1940 – 10 March 1968), one son; (2) Philippa McDonald (born 3 June 1942), one daughter; (3) Blažena Svitáková (born 16 October 1940), one daughter, born before marriage
  • Don Marino Torlonia dei Principi di Civitella-Cesi (born 13 December 1939 – 28 December 1995) died unmarried and without issue
  • Doña Olimpia Torlonia dei Principi di Civitella-Cesi (born 27 December 1943), who married (16 June 1965) Paul-Annik Weiller (28 July 1933 – 2 November 1998), and had six children (including Princess Sibilla of Luxembourg)

Later life

Infanta Beatriz settled with her husband in the Palazzo Torlonia, a 16th-century Early Renaissance town house on Via della Conciliazione in Rome.[28] King Alfonso XIII died in 1941 and as the situation deteriorated in Italy during World War II, Infanta Beatriz with her family joined her siblings in Lausanne, spending the rest of the war close to their mother Queen Victoria Eugenie. Beatriz returned to Italy after the war and dwelt there for the rest of her life.

Although the family tried to arrange a marriage for the infanta's daughter, Sandra, with King Baudouin of Belgium, she caused her parents concern when in 1958 she married Clemente Lequio, a widower with a son, who was given the title "Count Lequio di Assaba" in 1963 by Umberto II of Italy.[25] Sandra had a son and a daughter with Lequio, who died after a fall from an upper floor in his house in Turin in 1971. Their son, Alesandro Lequio, moved to Spain in 1991 working initially for Fiat.[29] Married to the Italian model Antonia Dell’Atte, a muse in the late 1980s of Giorgio Armani, Alessandro Lequio quickly became a favorite of the Spanish jet set and tabloids, when, after his divorce, he began a relationship with Ana Obregón, a Spanish actress and television presenter.[29] Infanta Beatriz's eldest son, Marco, married three times and had three children, one in each marriage. His eldest son, Don Giovanni Torlonia, is a well known designer. Infanta Beatriz’s second son, Marino, died unmarried in 1995 of HIV-related illnesses.[28] The youngest child, Olimpia, married in 1965 Paul-Annick Weiller (1933–1998), the first son of the aviator Paul-Louis Weiller of the Javal family.[30] Among their six children is Princess Sibilla of Luxembourg.[30]

In 1999, the Infanta gave an interview with Hola Magazine where she discussed her life and the years of the Royal Family's exile from Spain.[31]

She died at her home in Palazzo Torlonia, Rome on 22 November 2002 at 93 years 5 months.




  1. García Louapre, Cinco días con la infanta Beatriz de Borbón y Battenberg hija de Alfonso XIII, p. 21
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Puga & Ferrrer, 20 Infantas de España, p. 215
  3. García Louapre, Cinco días con la infanta Beatriz de Borbón y Battenberg hija de Alfonso XIII, p. 95
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 Baviera, Alfonso XIII, p. 205
  5. García Louapre, Cinco días con la infanta Beatriz de Borbón y Battenberg hija de Alfonso XIII, p. 89
  6. García Louapre, Cinco días con la infanta Beatriz de Borbón y Battenberg hija de Alfonso XIII, p. 90
  7. 7.0 7.1 Puga & Ferrrer, 20 Infantas de España, p. 216
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Balansó, Las perlas de la Corona, p. 175
  9. Puga & Ferrrer, 20 Infantas de España, p. 217
  10. 10.0 10.1 Balansó, Las perlas de la Corona, p. 179
  11. Balansó, La Familia real y la familia irreal, p. 81
  12. Baviera, Alfonso XIII, p. 206
  13. García Louapre, Cinco días con la infanta Beatriz de Borbón y Battenberg hija de Alfonso XIII, p. 104
  14. García Louapre, Cinco días con la infanta Beatriz de Borbón y Battenberg hija de Alfonso XIII, p. 115
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 Puga & Ferrrer, 20 Infantas de España, p. 218
  16. 16.0 16.1 García Louapre, Cinco días con la infanta Beatriz de Borbón y Battenberg hija de Alfonso XIII, p. 122
  17. Balansó, Las perlas de la Corona, p. 180
  18. García Louapre, Cinco días con la infanta Beatriz de Borbón y Battenberg hija de Alfonso XIII, p. 123
  19. Balansó, Las perlas de la Corona, p. 183
  20. Puga & Ferrrer, 20 Infantas de España, p. 219
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 Balansó, La Familia real y la familia irreal, p. 84
  22. Tourtchine, Jean-Fred. Le Royaume d'Espagne. Collection "Les manuscrits du CEDRE, dictionnaire historique et généalogique", Paris: Cercle d’études des dynasties royales européennes (CEDRE), 1996. ISSN 0993-3964. Volume III, p. 166.
  23. Eilers, Marlene. Queen Victoria's Descendants. Rosvall Royal Books, Falkoping, Sweden, 1997, pp.117-118.
  24. Zorilla, Francisco. Genealogia de la Casa de Borbon de Espana. Editora Nacional, Madrid, 1971, pp. 204-205.
  25. 25.0 25.1 Balansó, La Familia real y la familia irreal, p. 85
  26. Balansó, Las perlas de la Corona, p. 185
  27. Muere la madre de Alessandro Lecquio
  28. 28.0 28.1 Balansó, Las perlas de la Corona, p. 189
  29. 29.0 29.1 Balansó, La Familia real y la familia irreal, p. 86
  30. 30.0 30.1 Puga & Ferrrer, 20 Infantas de España, p. 221


  • Balansó, Juan. La familia Real y la familia irreal. Ed. Planeta, Barcelona, 1992, ISBN 84-320-7549-3
  • Balansó, Juan. Las perlas de la Corona. Plaza & Janés Editores SA, 1997, ISBN 84-01-53023-7
  • Baviera, S.A.R. Princesa Pilar de and Chapman-Huston, Desmond. Alfonso XIII., Col. Z, 1959, ISBN 84-261-0053-8
  • García Louapre, Pilar. Cinco días con la infanta Beatriz de Borbón y Battenberg hija de Alfonso XIII : su testimonio sobre su vida y sus circunstancias. Vision Libros, 2007. ISBN 84-982-1759-8
  • Puga, Maria Teresa and Ferrer, Eusebio. 20 Infantas de España: Sus vidas, entre las ilusiones y el destino. Ed. Juventud, Barcelona, 1998. ISBN 84-261-3084-4