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Infante Carlos, Duke of Calabria

Infante Carlos, Duke of Calabria

Spanish infanta
The basics
Quick Facts
Intro Spanish infanta
Gender male
Birth 16 January 1938 (Lausanne, Lausanne District, Canton of Vaud, Switzerland)
Death 5 October 2015 (Retuerta del Bullaque, Ciudad Real Province, Castile-La Mancha, Spain)
Mother: Infanta AliciaDuchess of Calabria
Father: Infante AlfonsoDuke of Calabria
Spouse: Princess AnneDuchess of Calabria
Children: Prince PedroDuke of NotoArchduchess María of Austria
The details

Don Carlos Maria Alfonso Marcelo de Borbón-Dos Sicilias y de Borbón-Parma, Infante of Spain, Duke of Calabria (16 January 1938 – 5 October 2015) was, at his death, the last infante of Spain during the reigns of his cousins King Juan Carlos I and King Felipe VI.

Additionally, he was also one of two claimants to the headship of the dynasty which ruled the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies prior to its incorporation into the Kingdom of Italy in 1861, in which capacity he was also the Grand Master of one of the three branches of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George.


The second of three children and the only son of Infante Alfonso de Borbón-Dos Sicilias y de Borbón (1901–1964) and Princess Alicia of Bourbon-Parma (1917–2017), he was born during his parents' exile from republican Spain in Lausanne, Switzerland. As the elder son of Prince Carlo of Bourbon-Two Sicilies by Mercedes, Princess of Asturias (1880-1904), the eldest child of Alfonso XII of Spain, Alfonso had been heir presumptive to the Spanish throne between the death in childbirth of his mother and the birth in May 1907 of a son to his mother's brother, King Alfonso XIII. If Mateu Morral’s attempt to assassinate King Alfonso XIII of Spain had succeeded, Infante Alfonso (Infante Carlos’s father) would have become at that moment the King of Spain.

Raised from infancy side-by-side with his future king, Juan Carlos I (Carlos's elder by 11 days), the cousins attended school together first in Switzerland and later in Spain. Carlos was chosen by the Spanish pretender, Don Juan de Borbón, Count of Barcelona, to become Juan Carlos's roommate at a boarding school that Don Juan and Spain's dictator Francisco Franco agreed to establish to bring the potential future king from his family's exile in Portugal to be educated in Spain. The school was the site of a country house, Las Jarillas, located 10 miles north of Madrid and donated for the purpose by the Marquès de Urquijo. In November 1948 Carlos and Juan Carlos took up residence there, along with eight selected sons of the aristocracy (and one commoner, the future cabinet member José Luis Leal Maldonado) and a team of tutors selected by Don Juan, including as headmaster the liberal scholar José Garrido, along with a traditionalist chaplain, Ignacio de Zulueta. Over the course of the next two years, under the guidance of Pedro Martínez de Irujo y Caro, Duque de Sotomayor in loco parentis, the princes were carefully educated and introduced to distinguished Spaniards, including Franco himself as well as Leopoldo Calvo Sotelo and Fernando Alvarez de Miranda. The princes obtained their bacs from the Colegiata de San Isidro de Madrid, and reunited to take courses in law together at the University of Madrid, remaining close friends throughout.


Carlos lived in Madrid with his family. Their assets included agricultural properties in Toledo and Ciudad Real. He also held investments in major companies, including Repsol and Telefonica.


In April 1961 Carlos met his future wife, Princess Anne of Orléans in Madrid, at the wedding of his elder sister, Princess Teresa, with Don Iñigo Moreno, future Marquès de Laula. In May 1962 they met again at the wedding in Athens of Infante Juan Carlos to Princess Sophia, daughter of the Greek king Paul of the Hellenes, appearing together at each of several occasions over the course of the week-long wedding celebrations. Two months later Anne was invited to and visited the home of Carlos's parents at Toledana. By the end of 1963 the secret was out: French news media pictured the couple together and speculated about the date when the engagement of the royal couple would be announced publicly.

Although both were Roman Catholic Bourbons by male-line descent, a disagreement now erupted between the couple's fathers about the dynastic claim of Carlos's father to the legacy of the deposed Bourbon-Sicily dynasty, whose last undisputed head, Ferdinand, Duke of Calabria, had died childless in January 1960. Carlos's father, Infante Alfonso, had asserted himself as rightful heir because his late father, Carlo of Bourbon-Sicily (1870-1949), had been Calabria's next oldest brother. Anne's father Henri, Comte de Paris, however, upheld the claim of Ferdinand's next younger brother, Prince Ranieri, Duke of Castro (1883-1973) to the headship of the house, contending that Carlo had renounced his and his future descendants' Sicilian rights when he married the Spanish heiress presumptive, Mercedes of Asturias, in 1901, no doubt being mindful that his own claim to be head of the royal House of France depended upon the validity of the 1713 renunciation of a senior Bourbon prince, Philippe, Duc d'Anjou, in favor of the junior House of Orléans. The Comte de Paris withheld his consent, thus plans for the couple's marriage were dropped.

Carlos's father died in 1964, and with patience, persistence and compromise from afar, he eventually obtained the hand of his bride. The 250 guests received one of two different invitations from either the bride's parents or the groom; the former referred to the bride's marriage to "HRH Prince Carlos of Bourbon", while the latter announced the wedding of "Princess Anne of France" to the "Duke of Calabria". On 11 May 1965 at Louveciennes the "lovers of the Gotha" (as the press dubbed the couple) were married in a civil ceremony and, the following day the Comte de Paris escorted his daughter to the altar at the Chapelle royale de Dreux, the Orléans' traditional parish chapel and necropolis, for Catholic nuptials.


The couple had five children:

  • Princess Cristina of Bourbon-Two Sicilies (born 1966 in Madrid), married in 1994 at Ciudad Real Pedro López-Quesada y Fernandez-Urrutia (born 1964), a cousin of Queen Fabiola of Belgium through his paternal grandmother.
    • Victoria López-Quesada y de Borbón-Dos Sicilias (born 1997)
    • Pedro López-Quesada y de Bórbon-Dos Sicilias (born 2003)
  • Princess María of Bourbon-Two Sicilies (born 1967 in Madrid), married in 1996 at Ciudad Real Archduke Simeon of Austria (born 1958), a grandson of Karl I of Austria.
    • Archduke Johannes of Austria (born 1997)
    • Archduke Ludwig of Austria (born 1998)
    • Archduchess Isabelle of Austria (born 2000)
    • Archduchess Carlota of Austria (born 2003)
    • Archduke Philipp of Austria (born 2007)
  • Prince Pedro of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, Duke of Calabria (born 1968 in Madrid), married Sofia Landaluce y Melgarejo (born 1973) in 2001 at Madrid,
    • Prince Jaime de Borbón-dos Sicilias y Landaluce, Duke of Noto (born 1993)
    • Prince Juan de Borbón-dos Sicilias y Landaluce (born 2003)
    • Prince Pablo de Borbón-dos Sicilias y Landaluce (born 2004)
    • Prince Pedro de Borbon-dos Sicilias y Landaluce (born 2005)
    • Princess Sofía de Borbon-dos Sicilias y Landaluce (born 12 November 2008)
    • Princess Blanca de Borbon-dos Sicilias y Landaluce (born 7 April 2011)
    • Princess María of Bourbon-Two Sicilies (born 5 March 2015)
  • Princess Inés María of Bourbon-Two Sicilies (born 1971 in Madrid), married in 2001 at Toledo Napolitan Nob. Michele Carrelli Palombi dei Marchesi di Raiano (born 1965)
    • Nob. Teresa Carrelli Palombi dei Marchesi di Raiano (born 2003)
    • Nob. Blanca Carrelli Palombi dei Marchesi di Raiano (born 2005)
  • Princess Victoria of Bourbon-Two Sicilies (born 1976 in Madrid), married Greek shipowner Markos Nomikos (born 1965) in 2003.
    • Anastasios Nomikos (born 2005)
    • Ana Nomikos (born 2006)
    • Carlos Nomikos (born 2008)
    • Simeon Nomikos (born 2012)


Departing Europe to spend a year abroad after his broken engagement, Carlos rounded out his study of the law with internships at several banks in the Americas, notably Chase Manhattan in New York, the National Bank of Mexico and the Banco Popular del Peru. Following marriage, Carlos and his wife remained for sometime guests of the Marquès de Decio, head of the household of Infante Alfonso in his capacity as Duke of Calabria. In 1966 the couple took up residence in a large apartment in the heart of Madrid.

Carlos then launched a professional specialization in financial law and banking. After his father's death in 1964 he also managed his family's large agricultural holdings in Spain.


Infante Carlos was one of two claimants of the dignity of Head of the Royal House of the Two Sicilies. The other claimant was his second cousin Prince Carlo of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, Duke of Castro. Infante Carlos was also one of three claimants to the Grand Magistery of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George; the other two claimants are Carlos Hugo, Duke of Parma and Carlo, Duke of Castro.

Infante Carlos was the senior male-line descendant of Ferdinand IV and III of Naples and Sicily (Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies) and as such "first born legitimate heir of the Farnese" (primogenito legittimo farnesiano), as Ferdinand was designated by his father, King Charles III of Spain, on 16 October 1759 (ten days after abdicating the Two Sicilies Crown). Although Ferdinand had two elder brothers, his eldest brother was mentally retarded and deemed unfit to inherit any crown; his next eldest brother, meanwhile, was his father's heir to the crown of Spain; treaty provisions prevented the union of the crowns of Spain, Naples and Sicily on the head of one person.

Prince Carlo of Bourbon, grandfather of the Infante, is alleged to have renounced his rights by signing the Act of Cannes. While "Duke of Castro" is a title that belongs to the Head of the Royal House along with Duke of Parma, Piacenza, etc., Duke of Calabria is a title of the Crown Prince, corresponding to the Spanish Prince of Asturias or the British Prince of Wales.

Titles, styles and honours


  • 16 January 1938 - 7 January 1960: His Royal Highness Prince Carlos of Bourbon-Two Sicilies
  • 7 January 1960 - 3 February 1964: His Royal Highness Prince Carlos, Duke of Noto
  • 3 February 1964 - 16 December 1994: His Royal Highness Prince Carlos, Duke of Calabria
  • 16 December 1994 - 5 October 2015: His Royal Highness Infante Carlos of Spain, Prince of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, Duke of Calabria


National honours

  •  Italy
    • Kingdom of the Two Sicilies House of Bourbon-Two Sicilies: Knight Grand Cross with Collar of the Royal Order of Saint Januarius
    • Kingdom of the Two Sicilies House of Bourbon-Two Sicilies: Bailiff Knight Grand Cross with Collar of Justice of the Two Sicilian Royal Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George
    •   Vatican: Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre
  •  Spain: Dean Knight with Collar of the Order of the Golden Fleece
  •  Spain: Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Military Merit, Special Class
  •  Spain: Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Naval Merit, Special Class
  •  Spain: Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Aeronautical Merit, Special Class
  •  Spain: Chancellor Knight of the Royal Military Order of Calatrava
  •  Spain: Chancellor Knight of the Royal Military Order of Santiago
  •  Spain: Chancellor Knight with Collar of the Royal Military Order of Alcántara
  •  Spain: Chancellor Knight of the Royal Military Order of Montesa

Foreign honours

  • Anhalt Anhaltese Ducal Family: Knight Grand Cross with Chain of the Ducal Order of Albert the Bear
  •  France Orléans-French Royal Family: Knight Grand Cross with Collar of the Royal Order of the Holy Spirit
  •  Mexico: Grand Cross of the Order of the Aztec Eagle

Protector of the Real Cuerpo de la Nobleza of Madrid, Maestrante of Sevilla, Zaragoza, Granada, Valencia and Ronda, Member of the Real Cuerpo de la Nobleza of Catalonia, Member of the Cofradía del Santo Cáliz of Valencia, and Patron-President of the Foundation of the Military Order's Hospital of Santiago de Cuenca (Patrono-Presidente de la Fundación de las Ordenes Militares Hospital de Santiago de Cuenca). Infante Carlos was also President of the Spanish Foundation of the United World College, President of the Patronato of the Naval Museum, President of the Spanish Confederation of Foundations, President of the Iberoamerican Confedration of Foundations, President of the Foundation of San Benito de Alcántara, and President of the Foundation for the Protection of Nature (Fundación Fondo para la Protección de la Naturaleza). He died on 5 October 2015 at the age of 77.

Under the traditional succession laws of the Kingdom of Navarre, Carlos's mother Infanta Alicia, born a Princess of Bourbon-Parma, was the claimant to that throne, which was formally united with the Kingdom of France in the seventeenth century. She was also the closest known genealogical representative of King Edward the Confessor, and the direct genealogical representative of King David I of Scotland. Upon Infanta Alicia's death Carlos's son Pedro presumably became the titular King of Navarre and represents her entire genealogical inheritance.




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