Alfonso de Espana

Alfonso de Espana

Member of the Spanish Royal House
Date of Birth: 03.10.1941
Country: Spain

  1. Biography of Alfonso
  2. Early Life
  3. Tragic Death
  4. Legacy and Burial

Biography of Alfonso

Alfonso was a member of the Spanish royal family, an infante of Spain and the youngest of four children of Juan, Count of Barcelona, claimant to the Spanish throne, and Maria de las Mercedes of Bourbon-Sicily. He was the only brother of King Juan Carlos I. He was born after the death of his grandfather, King Alfonso XIII, and his oldest uncle, Alfonso, who suffered from hemophilia, as well as the abdication of his second oldest uncle, Jaime of Segovia. Because of this, he was considered the second in line to the Spanish throne by Spanish monarchists from birth. In the family, he was called "Alfonsito" to distinguish him from other Bourbons with the same name.

Early Life

Alfonso spent his early childhood in Rome, Switzerland, and Portugal. After Francisco Franco declared Spain a monarchy in 1947, the political role of the young princes increased. They visited Spain for the first time in the same year, and in 1950, as per an agreement between Franco and the Count of Barcelona, the boys were sent to Spain for education and attended the military academy in Zaragoza. In 1954, Juan Carlos and Alfonso were received by Franco at the El Pardo Palace. Alfonso participated in golf competitions and had a passion for hunting.

Tragic Death

On the evening of Holy Thursday, March 29, 1956, at 8:30 pm, 14-year-old infante Alfonso died at his parents' home in Estoril, where the brothers were spending their Easter vacation. The official statement from the Spanish embassy in Portugal stated that "while Alfonso was cleaning his revolver, a shot was fired, the bullet hit him in the forehead, and he died a few minutes later." The only witness was Juan Carlos. There was no investigation into the incident, and it is still unknown who exactly pulled the trigger. Numerous rumors, including those from the boys' sister, Infanta Pilar, servants, and friends, suggest that the future king (who was 18 years old at the time) was responsible for the fatal shot. Some accounts claim it happened during a playful game with the weapon, others during the cleaning of the barrel, and yet others from an accidental hit to the hand. It is also mentioned that this pistol was supposedly a gift from Generalissimo Franco. Juan Carlos I only stated that he "accepted responsibility" for what happened, without specifying what that entailed.

Legacy and Burial

The boys' uncle, Jaime, Duke of Segovia, who had a strained relationship with their father, insisted on an official investigation into the incident, believing that Juan Carlos had accidentally fired the shot. The death of the prince did not receive much coverage in the Spanish press under Franco's dictatorship. However, many Spanish monarchists visited Alfonso's grave in Portugal and brought Spanish soil to it. In October 1992, after 17 years of reign, Juan Carlos I ordered the transfer of his brother's remains to Spain and his burial in the royal pantheon at the Escorial, at the request of their dying father. The gravely ill Count of Barcelona (who had six more months to live) temporarily left the hospital in Pamplona for the funeral. The remains of the infante were the last to be brought back to Spain among all the deceased Bourbons in exile. Alfonso was buried in the municipal cemetery of Cascais.