Infante Carlos, Duke of Calabria

Infante Carlos of Spain
Duke of Calabria (more)
Head of the House of Bourbon-Two Sicilies (disputed)
Pretence 3 February 1964 – 5 October 2015
Predecessor Infante Alfonso
Successor Prince Pedro
Born (1938-01-16)16 January 1938
Lausanne, Switzerland
Died 5 October 2015(2015-10-05) (aged 77)
Retuerta del Bullaque, Spain
Burial El Escorial, Spain[1]
Spouse Princess Anne of Orléans
Issue Princess Cristina
María, Archduchess of Austria
Prince Pedro, Duke of Noto
Princess Inés
Princess Victoria
Full name
Spanish: Carlos María Alfonso Marcelo
House Bourbon-Two Sicilies
Father Infante Alfonso, Duke of Calabria
Mother Princess Alicia of Bourbon-Parma
Religion Roman Catholic
Royal styles of
Infante Carlos of Spain,
Duke of Calabria
Reference style His Royal Highness
Spoken style Your Royal Highness
Alternative style Sir

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 (born 1917), he was born during his parents' exile from republican Spain in Lausanne, Switzerland.[2] 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.[3] 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.[4]

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.[5] 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.[6] 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.[6] 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.[6] 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.[6] 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.[5]


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.[5] 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.[5] Two months later Anne was invited to and visited the home of Carlos's parents at Toledana.[5] 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.[5]

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.[5] 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.[5] 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.[5]

Carlos's father died in 1964, and with patience, persistence and compromise from afar, he eventually obtained the hand of his bride.[5] 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.[5]


The couple had five children:[2]


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.[5] 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.[5]

Carlos then launched a professional specialization in financial law and banking.[5] After his father's death in 1964 he also managed his family's large agricultural holdings in Spain.

Honours and orders

Carlos was created an Infante of Spain by King Juan Carlos of Spain by Royal Decree 2412 dated 16 December 1994,[8] as the "Representative of a line linked historically to the Spanish Crown". If the renunciations of the sisters and aunts of the present king are considered valid under Spain's current constitution, Carlos was also next in line for the Spanish throne after the legitimate descendants of Juan Carlos.

Infante Carlos was Dean-President of the Royal Council of the Military Orders of Santiago, Grand Master of the Hispano-Neapolitan branch of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George, Grand Master of the Order of Saint Januarius, Member of the Calatrava, Alcántara and Montesa and Grand Commander of the Military Order of Alcántara, Protector of the Real Cuerpo de la Nobleza of Madrid, Maestrante of Sevilla, Zaragoza, Granada, Valencia and Ronda,[9] 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). He was appointed a knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece on 25 February 1964,[10] of which he was the doyen, and was decorated with the Grand Cross of the Spanish Orders of Military Merit with White Distinction, of Naval Merit and of Agricultural Merit, the Grand Cross of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre, the Grand Cross of the Order of Albrecht the Bear of the House of Anhalt-Ascania and received the Banda of the Mexican Order of the Aztec Eagle among other Orders. Infante Carlos was also President of the Spanish Foundation of the United World College,[11] President of the Patronato of the Naval Museum, President of the Spanish Confederation of Foundations,[12] President of the Iberoamerican Confedration of Foundations,[13] President of the Foundation of San Benito de Alcántara,[14] 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.[15]


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.


Prince Carlos's official title since 1994 was: His Royal Highness Don Carlos Maria Alfonso Marcel de Borbón-Dos Sicilias y de Borbón-Parma, Infante of Spain, Prince of the Two Sicilies, Duke of Calabria.

Pursuant to the traditional succession laws of the Kingdom of Navarre, Carlos's mother Infanta Alicia, born a Princess of Bourbon-Parma, is the current claimant to that throne, which was formally united with the Kingdom of France in the seventeenth century. She is also the closest known genealogical representative of King Edward the Confessor, and the direct genealogical representative of King David I of Scotland.[16] After Infanta Alicia's death Carlos's son Pedro will presumably become the titular King of Navarre and represent her entire genealogical inheritance.




  1. Hola
  2. 1 2 Genealogisches Handbuch des Adels, Fürstliche Häuser Band XV. "Spanien". C.A. Starke, Limburg an der Lahn, 1997, pp. 103-105. (German). ISBN 3-7980-0814-0.
  3. Enache, Nicolas. La Descendance de Marie-Therese de Habsburg. ICC, Paris, 1996. pp. 523-525, 527. (French). ISBN 2-908003-04-X
  4. "Carlos de Borbón-Dos Sicilias, único Infante de España por expreso deseo del rey Juan Carlos". ¡Hola! (in Spanish). 6 October 2015. Retrieved 9 October 2015.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 de Montjouvent, Philippe. Le Comte de Paris et sa Descendance. Editions du Chaney, 1998, Charenton, pp. 251-261, 264-265, 270-272. (French). ISBN 2-913211-00-3.
  6. 1 2 3 4 Powell, Charles (1996). Juan Carlos of Spain. Oxford, UK: MacMillan Press, St. Antony's Series. pp. 50–51, 221–222. ISBN 0-333-54726-8.
  7. " The official site of the order – 12 November 2008 (Madrid) Birth of Princess Sofia of Bourbon-Two Sicilies.
  8. Royal Decree 2412/1994 Boletín Oficial del Estado (BOE)
  9. Maestranza de Caballeria
  10. "Del Imperio a la Unión Europea: La huella de Otto de Habsburgo en el siglo XX. Escrito por Ramón Pérez-Maura"
  11. Fundación Comité Español de Colegios del Mundo Unido
  12. Asociacion de Fundaciones
  13. Confederación Iberoamericana de Fundaciones
  14. Fundación San Benito de Alcántara
  15. Muere el infante Carlos de Borbón-Dos Sicilias, primo y amigo de Juan Carlos I
  16. The Constantinian Order, magazine

External links

Infante Carlos, Duke of Calabria
Cadet branch of the House of Bourbon
Born: 16 January 1938 Died: 5 October 2015
Preceded by
King of the Two Sicilies
1964 – 2015
Reason for succession failure:
Italian Unification under the House of Savoy
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