But the lovestruck duchess is giving it all away so that she can wed a man 25 years her junior. The King of Spain, Juan Carlos disapproves, her family are opposed - but the 18th Duchess of Alba, a distant relative of Winston Churchill, Diana, Princess of Wales, and King James II, is determined to marry a lowly civil servant for love.
As her six children and eight grandsons reportedly disapprove of her marriage to Social Security worker Alfonso Diez, she plans to give them their inheritance in advance, according to press reports.
''Alfonso doesn't want anything. All he wants is me,'' said the elderly aristocrat, whose privileges include the right to ride on horseback into Sevilla Cathedral and not having to kneel before the Pope. “I still don’t understand why my children are making it so difficult. We are not hurting anyone.”
Her eldest son Carlos Fitz-James Stuart , 63, is set to inherit the Palacio Liria in Madrid and the Monterrey Palace in Salamanca, and will gain control of the family fortune, according to Spanish newspaper El Pais.
But much of the estate is owned by the state, and cannot be sold. The father of her children was Luis Martínez de Irujo, son of the Duke of Sotomayor, who died in 1972. In 1978 she married former Jesuit priest, Jesus Aguirre y Ortiz de Zarate, who died in 2001.
Plans of a wedding to her current love, Diez, 60, were called off in 2008, following an alleged telephone call from the King ‘discouraging’ the duchess from marrying him.
As head of the 539-year-old House of Alba, Maria del Rosario Cayetana Alfonsa Victoria Eugenia Francisca Fitz-James Stuart y de Silva, has more titles than any noble in the world, according to Guinness World Records.