17 August 2011

Wedding Wednesday: The Duchess of Alba's Gown

Are you familiar with the Duchess of Alba? This staple of Spanish society may not be a member of any of our current royal families, but she is a descendant of royalty, and holds more recognized noble titles to her name than anyone else in the world. Cayetana Fitz-James Stuart is 85 now, and is making headlines because she wants to marry for the third time (a situation we'll get to in a moment). There's no better time, then, to revisit the wedding gowns of her past.
She married for the first time on October 12, 1947, to Pedro Luis Martinez de Irujo y Artacoz. It was a hugely expensive and grand event and for some, even overshadowed the wedding of Princess Elizabeth just a month later.
This is another gown typical of the 1940s in basic style, but not in the restraint of materials you usually see post-war (see also: everything else to do with this pricey affair). From Flora Villareal, the dress is made of white satin and Brussels lace.
I have to say, I'm a little bit in love with it; it's simple and incredibly luxurious, all at the same time.
The veil was white tulle, held in place by the giant Alba wedding tiara.
This major pearl and diamond tiara was once owned by Empress Eugénie de Montijo, wife of Napoleon III.

After her first husband passed away, the Duchess married again. She wed Jesús Aguirre y Ortiz de Zárate on March 16, 1978. The dress, from Daphnis, was far simpler this time around.
Her second husband was a former Jesuit priest, and an illegitimate child - quite the scandal at the time.

Now a widow for the second time, the Duchess has announced her intent to marry once again - and once again, we have some scandal. Her intended, Alfonso Díez Carabantes, is 24 years her junior. They were rumored to be considering marriage a while ago but her children (she had six with her first husband) objected. Allegedly, King Juan Carlos intervened and talked her out of it. But this time, she's dodging it all by giving her children their inheritance early. "Surrendering her fortune for love," in headline parlance. Good for her, I say. If you can't do as you please when you're 85, when can you?

UPDATE: The Duchess married for the third time on October 5, 2011, and then did a little happy flamenco to celebrate:

Photos: Hoymujer/msn/Munn