Countess of Barcelona

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The Countess of Barcelona, grandmother of King Felipe, died on this day in 2000. Born Princess María de las Mercedes of Bourbon-Two-Sicilies, she was the daughter of Prince Carlos of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, Infante of Spain and Princess Louise of Orléans and grew up in Spain and France. In 1935, she married Infante Juan of Spain, the fourth son and heir of the exiled King Alfonso XIII and Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain, who took the title of ‘Count of Barcelona’ after his father’s death in 1941, as a title of pretence. The couple had four children, including the future King Juan Carlos, and resided in France, Italy, Switzerland, and Portugal, eventually returning to Spain in 1976, a year after the Monarchy was restored with their son. The Countess was a fan of bull fighting and Andalusian culture, and was buried with the honours of a Queen at the Royal Crypt of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, after she died on this day in 2000.

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