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El Borbón de Cristal

El Borbón de Cristal

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Older brother of don Juan of Bourbon and uncle of King Juan Carlos I, Alfonso de Bourbon Battenberg (1907-1938) lived with infinite shame rather than with glory. He died as he had lived: alone and abandoned by his own family.

No one, at birth, would have predicted the kind of witch maleficent that ravaged his existence since he was operated of phimosis by his doctors, in the Royal Palace. Soon it was confirmed that this blond and blue-eyed child, the spitting image of his mother, the Queen Victoria Eugenia, was hemophiliac.

El Borbón de cristal grew apart from other children of his age, not being allowed to run or jump for fear that a simple hematoma could put his life in danger, since at that time the hemophiliacs had a life expectancy, under normal circumstances, of only twenty years.

As firstborn son of King Alfonso XIII, Alfonso de Bourbon Battenberg was called to succeed his father on the throne; not in vain he held the title of Prince of Asturias until June 1933, when his father forced him to renounce to the Crown of Spain for marrying a person who was not of regal lineage: the Cuban Edelmira Sampedro.

Only ten days after his renunciation, his brother, the deaf-mute Prince don Jaime, did the same, because he had also married a women out of the royalty: Emanuela de Dampierre, mother of the Duke of Cadiz.

After the renunciation of his two older brothers, the inheritance rights were passed to don Juan de Bourbon, father of King Juan Carlos. But nothing made the Prince suffer so much as the distance from his parents when he most needed them: in his death bed.

Months before falling ill, Alfonso had publicly challenged his father, announcing his intention to revoke his renunciation to the throne of Spain. The resentment of Alfonso XIII was stronger than his love as a father, and this prevented him to accompany his eldest son in his last moments.

Prostate on the bed of a soulless room of the Gerland Hospital of Miami, the Prince ended the great tragedy of his life in complete solitude. It was September 8th, 1938. To his right, the fourth blood donor extended his arm in that turbulent night so that, drop by drop, the blood passed to the bluish veins of the dying Prince.

Merely five hours later, Alfonso de Bourbon bid farewell forever to the world, without having been able to do so, as was his desire, to his parents. Queen Victoria Eugenia did not arrive in time to see him alive, though she tried it; on his side, King Alfonso XIII, remained impassive in Rome.

The last great tragedy of his life had happened shortly after he meet Mildred Gaydon, a cigarette seller in a nightclub in Miami: the car in which the couple was travelling became embedded in a telephone post. The hemophilia unleashed an unstoppable internal bleeding in don Alfonso’s body. The Prince died some hours later, bloodless.

Mildred, very much affected, wept inconsolably at the funeral, but was incapable to attend the burial at the Graceland Memorial Park in Miami. Only three people attended.

Occasionally, someone deposited dried flowers on the tombstone of the niche. After some time, it was known that they were sent regularly from the other side of the Atlantic by Queen Victoria Eugenia, shattered to hear that the last words of his eldest son had been to claim desperately her presence. Even in the last moment of his life, misfortune has accompanied his son.

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