Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Royal Cougar




In the United States, Hollywood is the closest thing to royalty; but in Spain, we have actual royals to obsess over.  Most of the time, the Spanish royal family behaves properly. They wear lovely, conservative clothing, they cut ribbons, somberly attend funerals, mingle with other Spanish nobility and generally act regally in front of their subjects. Sometimes, a princess has her nose altered ever so slightly. Or, there's a scandal when it's revealed that this same Princess had a bit of a "past" before marrying the Prince, but generally, the Spanish Royal Family behaves well.

The one big exception to the rule: Cayetana Fitz-James Stuart y DeSilva, the 18th Duchess of Alba.  According to the Guiness Book of World Records, she holds more titles than any other royal in the world, including the Queen of England. At times, it seems, her picture is on the cover of almost every magazine in Spain. Framing her unforgettable, wrinkle-free 83 year-old face, is her signature, white, fluffy mane of hair.  Preferring bohemian garb, she typically wears colorful clothing, dozens of ankle bracelets, necklaces and other bohemian trinkets, eschewing the designer labels.

Some call her one of the most loved celebrities in Spain.

Her bohemian fashion sense seems to be in keeping with her philosophy about life. Always a free spirit, she consoled herself by marrying a Jesuit Priest after her first husband died.  Sometime after her second husband died, she became involved with Alfonso Diez Carabantes, 24 years her junior.  When it was revealed that the Duchess would marry him, the royal family and Cayetana's six children had to step in and put a stop to their secret plan. A couple years ago, The Duchess had a shunt in her head and was in a wheelchair recovering from a serious illness.  But the thought of putting on her Pucci inspired bathing suit and frolicking on the beach with her boyfriend, must have gotten her back on her feet, surfing the waves.





Recently, she confided that "el crisis economique" has affected her too.  It takes mucho dinero to guard her spectacular art collection of Goyas and Velazquezes and to maintain many palatial estates, so she's watching her euros. And she's having fun.  She has the voice of a kitten...




But she's a royal cougar.

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Separated at birth from Jocelyn Wildenstein! The resemblance is uncanny.

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