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A happy ending for the dancing Duchess as her wedding dream comes true

05 OCTOBER 2011

When the Duchess of Alba walked down the aisle for the first time, the lavish nuptials threatened to overshadow the wedding of Britain's Princess Elizabeth.

Marrying 64 years later, Spain's premier aristocrat billed it as a small family celebration. But that didn't stop her countrymen going wild.

Millions tuned in to see to see TV coverage of the groom, civil servant Alfonso Diez – dashing in a grey suit – arriving at Seville's Las Dueñas Palace.

 

 

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Since morning, Cayetana Fitz-James Stuart's 16th-century Renaissance estate, which covers 9,542 square metres in the heart of the city, had been a focal point for supporters wearing traditional Andalucian dress and wearing white wigs in reference to her curly hairstyle.

They gathered on either side of the red carpet which had been especially laid out.

Every station carried extensive TV coverage of the big day, with presenters even dressed up in wedding finery.

Three priests presided over the Catholic ceremony, which lasted an hour and took place in the palace chapel.

It had been decorated with pink and white flowers arranged by Seville designers Victorio & Lucchino.

 


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The pair were also responsible for the duchess' shell pink dress.

Fashioned from chiffon and lace, the vintage-style gown was less flamboyant than her usual bohemian costumes.

It embodied romance, with a floaty hemline and billowing sleeves.

A flattering, zig-zag gauze boat neckline perfectly complemented the intricate embellishment, whilst the mint green ribbon around the waist cinched the silhouette for a delicate, feminine finish.

The designers, who were also guests at the ceremony, said they wanted the dress to have an 'Andalusian flourish'

Acting as Padrino – the equivalent of the father of the bride – was the duchess' eldest son Carlos, who will inherit the title of Duke of Alba.

 


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It's the second time he's given his mum away after undertaking the duty at her second wedding – to former Jesuit priest Jesus Aguirre y Ortiz de Zaráte, whom she married in 1978.

He died in 2001, making her a widow for the second time. Her first husband, nobleman Luis Martinez de Irujo y Artacoz also passed away. They were married for 25 years before he perished in 1971.

Cayetana's best friend Carmen Tello was the Madrina – something between the mother of the groom and a chief witness.

Missing from the bridal party were two of the duchess' children. Her only daughter Eugenia was in hospital in Madrid after being struck down with chickenpox.

Meanwhile, her son Jacobo also stayed away after a row involving his wife and his mother.

Other guests included her surgeon Dr Trujillo, who has been credited with giving Cayetana her life back. She was in a wheelchair until he operated on her spine.

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