Royals at the Seville Fair 

This week, the traditional Feria de Abril takes place in the city of Seville. One of the most relevant popular events in Spain, remarkable for the entrenched traditions, the music, the dressing, the bullfights, the vivid colours and the joy, it has attracted millions of visitors throughout the decades. Besides the masses, the Fair has also been visited by worldwide known stars, Hollywood actors, American socialites, as well as Aristocracy and Royalty. To mark the occasion, we are reviewing some of this distinguished royal guests!

The first edition of the Fair took place in April 1847. By that time, it was a very modest cattle and agricultural fair, but, as years went by, it experienced a rapid boom. It kept growing, attracting more and more people. Thus, the commercial character began to be replaced by a purely recreational and social character, with taverns, the traditional casetas, festive lighting and fireworks. Queen Isabella II, the sovereign who signed the royal decree which authorized the Fair to be held once a year, visited the site several times, including in 1877, 1883 and 1884.

   

King Alfonso XIII and Queen Victoria Eugenie have regularly visited the Feria de Abril. In 1920, they were accompanied by the Queen’s godmother, Empress Eugenie of the French. In 1928 the inauguration of the Hotel Alfonso XIII took place coinciding with the days of the fair. Because of that, the King and Queen, Infanta Luisa and Infanta Isabel Alfonsa, the Duchess of Guise and two of her daughters attended a lavish banquet decorated as a Fiesta Flamenca at the Hotel.

In 1930 the King and Queen were accompanied by their extended family, including their sons and daughters, as well as Infante Carlos and Infanta Luisa, Infante Alfonso and Infanta Beatrice, and the Marchioness of Carisbrooke. The Royal Family was photographed having a ride on a roller-coaster and attending several of the bullfights at the Real Maestranza de Sevilla. Queen Victoria Eugenie was photographed while horse riding, enjoying the picturesque environment on the traditional casetas.

In 1960, the beautiful Princess Soraya, ex-Queen Consort of Iran, visited the Feria de Abril and even dressed as a Flamenca. Four years later, the event was visited by Begum Om Habibeh, the widow of Aga Khan III.

The year 1966 is one of the most memorable for the history of the Fair. The event had some very special guests, who were hosted by the Duchess of Alba, namely Prince Rainier III of Monaco, his wife, Princess Grace, as well as Jacqueline Kennedy. The Princely couple was photographed enjoying some Sevillanas and carriage riding through the fair. The princess dressed as flamenca. The couple also attended a bullfight show and presided a Debutante Ball together with Jacky Kennedy and Princess Esperanza of Orléans Braganza. Prince Rainier and Princess Grace’s youngest daughter, little Princess Stephanie of Monaco, was also photographed at the Fair, wearing the traditional costume.

In 1967, Princess Irene of The Netherlands and her husband, Prince Charles Hugo of Bourbon Parma, Carlist pretender to the Spanish Throne, were photographed while enjoying the Feria de Sevilla.

The then Prince Juan Carlos and his wife, Princess Sofia visited the site in its edition of 1968. This remains the only time that members of the Spanish Royal Family visited the Fair publicly.

   

This traditional event will always have a soft spot for King Willem Alexander of the Netherlands and his wife, Queen Maxima, as in 1999 the couple met for the first time while both of them were in Sevilla attending it. Twenty years after this first meeting, the now King and Queen decided to return to the Feria de Abril, and show to their three daughters, Princess Amalia, Princess Alexia, and Princess Ariane, the place were they first met and fell in love. Queen Maxima was also recorded enjoying a dance in one of the casetas.

In 2017, Crown Prince Pavlos and Crown Princess Marie Chantal of Greece visited the Fair, accompanied by the Princess’ sister, Pia Getty, as well as Princess Miriam of Bulgaria. On that same year, the Prince of Venice also attended the event.

Embed from Getty Images

This year, the Duke and Duchess of Noto were photographed in Sevilla, enjoying their first Feria de Abril as a married couple.

This article was written by assistant editor, David Rato, who runs the Spanish Royal Jewels account on Instagram!

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