A HIGH-PROFILE member of the Spanish aristocracy and the woman who holds the world record for the longest list of nobility titles could be first in line to Scotland’s throne if it succeeds in its bid for independence from Britain.
The Duchess of Alba, 87, one of Spain’s richest landed gentry holds 18 Marquess titles, 20 Countess titles, is a Viscountess, five times a Duchess, a Countess-Duchess and ‘Constabless’ as well as holding 14 Great of Spain titles.
María del Rosario Cayetana Fitz-James Stuart y Silva – Cayetana to her friends and family, and ‘the Duchess of Alba’ for ease of reference in public address – is a direct descendent of King James II of England and VII of Scotland, the last Monarch to reign north of the Hadrian’s Wall.
She is the great-great-great-great-granddaughter of James Fitz-James, the illegitimate son of King James VII of Scotland, the result of an extra-marital affair by the Monarch and his lover, Arabella Churchill, and is the XI Duchess of Berwick as well as XVIII Duchess of Alba.
And she is the oldest surviving direct descendent of the last Scottish King, who reigned between 1685 and 1688 and was the last Catholic Monarch of what was soon to become the United Kingdom of Great Britain, before fleeing to France where King Louis XIV, also Catholic, took him under his wing.
It was here in France that he got one of his lovers, Arabella Churchill, pregnant – among other women at around the same time – and the child, James Fitz-James became I Duke of Liria (Valencia) and father of Jacobo Francisco Fitz-James Stuart.
The other ‘candidate’ to be Scottish Monarch who, according to some schools of thought, is the true Royal heir to the throne of England, France, Ireland and Scotland, is Duke of Bavaria Franz Bonaventura Adalbert Maria Herzog von Bayern, but he is said to ‘not really be that interested’.
His life has been very different to the privileged background of the Duchess of Alba, his having been captured by the Nazis when he was just 11 and held in concentration camps in Oranienburg and Dachau.
The Duchess of Alba, however, is rumoured to be quite interested and, with a fortune of three billion euros according to Forbesmagazine, as well as an aristocratic background and the contacts and prestige required of a Royal, has all the necessary ingredients to be Queen of Scotland and enough money behind her to help the independence movement gather strength.
And the political tension between the British government and Scottish Parliament could swing in her favour: UK Prime Minister David Cameron has already stated that an independent Scotland, as well as no longer being entitled to use the pound sterling as its currency, would no longer be entitled to be governed by the Queen of England, HRH Elizabeth II, and would be cut out of the territory under Windsor rule, which would mean if Scotland were not to become a republic, it would need a new Monarch.
Some say that if Scotland became independent and opted not to be a republic, everyone would emerge a winner – Queen Cayetana’s funds would help smooth out the teething problems the world’s newest country would suffer after the split from the UK, whilst the Stuarts would regain the throne they lost 326 years ago and Cayetana herself could add yet another title to her endless list; probably the most prestigious of her collection she could ever hope to acquire.
As for the Duchess of Alba’s son, Cayetano Martínez de Irujo – possibly the future Prince Cayetano of Scotland and maybe one day King Cayetano – he is currently competing at the international showjumping event, the Mediterranean Equestrian Tour, held at Oliva Nova (Oliva, Valencia province) and is hoping to net some more ‘titles’ for himself and his handsome chestnut gelding, Sotheby’s.
So far, their performance has been disappointing, but the combination scooped up sixth place in last Sunday’s Gold Grand Prix, the highest-ranking event of the week, which is eligible for Longines Ranking points that determine how far up the list a rider is in his or her country, helping strengthen their chances of being picked for national teams, Nations’ Cups and even the Olympics.