|Rey de España
Juan Carlos I
Alfonso XIII (Spanish: Alfonso León Fernando María Jaime Isidro Pascual Antonio de Borbón y Habsburgo-Lorena; English: Alphonse Leon Ferdinand Mary James Isidore Pascal Anthony of Bourbon and Habsburg-Lorraine; 17 May 1886 – 28 February 1941) was King of Spain from 1886 until 1931.
Alfonso was monarch from birth, as his father Alfonso XII had died the previous year. Until his 16th birthday in 1902, his mother, Maria Christina of Austria, served as his regent, in a period which saw Spain lose its Caribbean and Pacific colonies during the Spanish–American War. Due to family ties to both sides, Alfonso kept his kingdom neutral in World War I (1914–1918).
From 1923 to 1930, Alfonso supported the dictator Miguel Primo de Rivera. In 1931, in the face of overwhelming popular rejection, Alfonso fled the country as the Second Spanish Republic was proclaimed. In exile, he retained his claim to the throne until 1941, when he abdicated in favor of his son Juan. He died six weeks later.
Alfonso was born in Madrid on 17 May 1886. He was the posthumous son of Alfonso XII of Spain, who had died in November 1885, and became King of Spain upon his birth. The French newspaper Le Figaro described the young king in 1889 as "the happiest and best-loved of all the rulers of the earth". His mother, Maria Christina of Austria, served as his regent until his 16th birthday. During the regency, in 1898, Spain lost its colonial rule over Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Philippines to the United States as a result of the Spanish–American War.
When he came of age in May 1902, the week of his majority was marked by festivities, bullfights, balls and receptions throughout Spain.
By 1905, Alfonso was looking for a suitable consort. On a state visit to the United Kingdom, he stayed at Buckingham Palace with King Edward VII. There he met Princess Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg, the Scottish-born daughter of Edward's youngest sister Princess Beatrice, and a granddaughter of Queen Victoria. He found her attractive, and she returned his interest. There were obstacles to the marriage. Victoria was a Protestant, and would have to become a Catholic. Victoria's brother Leopold was a haemophiliac, so there was 50 percent chance that Victoria was a carrier of the trait. Finally, Alfonso's mother Maria Christina wanted him to marry a member of her family, the House of Habsburg-Lorraine or some other Catholic princess, as she considered the Battenbergs to be non-dynastic.
Victoria was willing to change her religion, and her being a haemophilia carrier was only a possibility. Maria Christina was eventually persuaded to drop her opposition. In January 1906 she wrote an official letter to Princess Beatrice proposing the match. Victoria met Maria Christina and Alfonso in Biarritz, France, later that month, and converted to Catholicism in San Sebastián in March.
In May, diplomats of both kingdoms officially executed the agreement of marriage. Alfonso and Victoria were married at the Royal Monastery of San Jerónimo in Madrid on 31 May 1906, with British royalty in attendance, including Victoria's cousins the Prince and Princess of Wales (later King George V and Queen Mary). The wedding was marred by an assassination attempt on Alfonso and Victoria by Catalan anarchist Mateu Morral. As the wedding procession returned to the palace, he threw a bomb from a window which killed or injured several bystanders and members of the procession.
During World War I, because of his family connections with both sides and the division of popular opinion, Spain remained neutral. The King established an office for assistance to prisoners of war on all sides. This office used the Spanish diplomatic and military network abroad to intercede for thousands of POWs – transmitting and receiving letters for them, and other services. The office was located in the Royal Palace.
Alfonso became gravely ill during the 1918 flu pandemic. Spain was neutral and thus under no wartime censorship restrictions, so his illness and subsequent recovery were reported to the world, while flu outbreaks in the belligerent countries were concealed. This gave the misleading impression that Spain was the most-affected area and led to the pandemic being dubbed "the Spanish Flu."
Following World War I, Spain entered the lengthy yet victorious Rif War (1920–1926) to preserve its colonial rule over northern Morocco. Critics of the monarchy thought the war was an unforgivable loss of money and lives, and nicknamed Alfonso el Africano ("the African"). In 1923, General Miguel Primo de Rivera seized power in a military coup. He ruled as a dictator with Alfonso's support until 1930. The poetic Generation of '27 and Catalan and Basque nationalism grew in this era.
On 15 January 1941, Alfonso XIII abdicated his rights to the Spanish throne in favor of Juan. He died in Rome on 28 February of that year.
In Spain, the dictator Franco ordered three days of national mourning. His funeral was held in Rome in the Church of Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri. Alfonso was buried in the Church of Santa Maria in Monserrato degli Spagnoli, the Spanish national church in Rome, immediately below the tombs of Pope Callixtus III and Pope Alexander VI. In January 1980 his remains were transferred to El Escorial in Spain.
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