Infante Alfonso, Duke of Galliera
Alfonso de Orleans y Borbón, Infante of Spain, Duke of Galliera (12 November 1886 – 6 August 1975) was a Spanish military aviator.

Early life

Alfonso was born in Madrid
Madrid is the capital and largest city of Spain. The population of the city is roughly 3.3 million and the entire population of the Madrid metropolitan area is calculated to be 6.271 million. It is the third largest city in the European Union, after London and Berlin, and its metropolitan...

, Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

, the elder son of Infante Antonio, Duke of Galliera
Infante Antonio, Duke of Galliera
Antonio Maria Luis Felipe Juan Florencio de Orléans y Borbon was an Infante of Spain and the fourth Duke of Galliera in the Kingdom of Italy...

 and his wife, Infanta Eulalia of Spain
Infanta Eulalia of Spain
Infanta Eulalia of Spain was a Spanish infanta known for her controversial books.-Early life:Eulalia was born in the Royal Palace of Madrid, the youngest child of Queen Isabella II of Spain and of her husband, Francis of Spain...

. On his paternal side he was a grandson of Antoine, Duke of Montpensier
Antoine, Duke of Montpensier
- Titles and styles:/*13 July 182421 September 1824: His Serene Highness Prince Antoine d'Orléans*21 September 18249 August 1830: His Royal Highness Prince Antoine d'Orléans...

, while on his maternal side he was a grandson of Queen Isabella II of Spain
Isabella II of Spain
Isabella II was the only female monarch of Spain in modern times. She came to the throne as an infant, but her succession was disputed by the Carlists, who refused to recognise a female sovereign, leading to the Carlist Wars. After a troubled reign, she was deposed in the Glorious Revolution of...

. On 30 November 1886, in the Royal Palace of Madrid
Royal Palace of Madrid
The Palacio Real de Madrid is the official residence of the King of Spain in the city of Madrid, but it is only used for state ceremonies. King Juan Carlos and the Royal Family do not reside in the palace, choosing instead the more modest Palacio de la Zarzuela on the outskirts of Madrid...

, he was baptised with the names Alfonso María Francisco Antonio Diego.

In 1899 Alfonso and his younger brother Luis Fernando
Luís Fernando de Orleans y Borbón
Luís Fernando de Orleans y Borbón, Infante of Spain was a Spanish prince who lost his title.-Early life and education:...

 were sent to England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 to be educated by the Jesuits at Beaumont College
Beaumont College
Beaumont College was a Jesuit public school in Old Windsor, Berkshire, England. In 1967 the school closed. The property became a conference centre, and from 2008 an hotel.-History of the estate:...

. They remained there until 1904.

Aviation career

In 1906 Alfonso graduated from the Academia Militar de Toledo (Military Academy of Toledo). In 1910 he trained as a pilot in France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

. Upon returning to Spain, be successfully become one of the first and most distinguished aviators in the Spanish military. He served as chief of aerial operations for the 1925 amphibious landings at Al Hoceima
Al Hoceima
Al Hoceima is a city and port in the north of Morocco and in the center of the Rif Mountains. The Al Hoceima city region has a population of 395.644 and is the capital of the Taza-Al Hoceima-Taounate region...

 in Morocco
Morocco , officially the Kingdom of Morocco , is a country located in North Africa. It has a population of more than 32 million and an area of 710,850 km², and also primarily administers the disputed region of the Western Sahara...


In May 1930 Alfonso was a passenger on the Graf Zeppelin
LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin
LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin was a German built and operated passenger-carrying hydrogen-filled rigid airship which operated commercially from 1928 to 1937. It was named after the German pioneer of airships, Ferdinand von Zeppelin, who was a Graf or Count in the German nobility. During its operating life,...

flight from Seville
Seville is the artistic, historic, cultural, and financial capital of southern Spain. It is the capital of the autonomous community of Andalusia and of the province of Seville. It is situated on the plain of the River Guadalquivir, with an average elevation of above sea level...

 to Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

. He then continued in the Graf Zeppelin to New York City and visited President Herbert Hoover
Herbert Hoover
Herbert Clark Hoover was the 31st President of the United States . Hoover was originally a professional mining engineer and author. As the United States Secretary of Commerce in the 1920s under Presidents Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge, he promoted partnerships between government and business...

 in Washington, D.C., before returning to Spain.

On 27 February 1931, Alfonso was named Chief of Staff of the Spanish Air Force
Spanish Air Force
-The early stages:Hot air balloons had been used with military purposes in Spain as far back as 1896. In 1905, with the help of Alfredo Kindelán, Leonardo Torres y Quevedo directed the construction of the first Spanish dirigible in the Army Military Aerostatics Service, created in 1896 and located...

 and Commander of the First Aero District by his cousin King Alfonso XIII
Alfonso XIII of Spain
Alfonso XIII was King of Spain from 1886 until 1931. His mother, Maria Christina of Austria, was appointed regent during his minority...


After the founding of the Second Spanish Republic
Second Spanish Republic
The Second Spanish Republic was the government of Spain between April 14 1931, and its destruction by a military rebellion, led by General Francisco Franco....

 on 14 April 1931, Alfonso was exiled to London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

. When he returned to Spain in 1932, he was imprisoned at Villa Cisneros (now Dakhla, Western Sahara
Dakhla, Western Sahara
-External links:**...

). On 1 January 1933, Alfonso and some thirty other monarchist prisoners escaped in a boat, travelling 1800 miles to Lisbon
Lisbon is the capital city and largest city of Portugal with a population of 545,245 within its administrative limits on a land area of . The urban area of Lisbon extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of 3 million on an area of , making it the 9th most populous urban...


In 1937 after the start of the Spanish Civil War
Spanish Civil War
The Spanish Civil WarAlso known as The Crusade among Nationalists, the Fourth Carlist War among Carlists, and The Rebellion or Uprising among Republicans. was a major conflict fought in Spain from 17 July 1936 to 1 April 1939...

 Alfonso returned to Spain to head the aerial forces of General Francisco Franco
Francisco Franco
Francisco Franco y Bahamonde was a Spanish general, dictator and head of state of Spain from October 1936 , and de facto regent of the nominally restored Kingdom of Spain from 1947 until his death in November, 1975...

. At the end of the war, he was promoted to general. He was made head of the Second Division Air Force in 1940. Three years later, he was promoted to brigadier general
Brigadier General
Brigadier general is a senior rank in the armed forces. It is the lowest ranking general officer in some countries, usually sitting between the ranks of colonel and major general. When appointed to a field command, a brigadier general is typically in command of a brigade consisting of around 4,000...


For many years Alfonso was the unofficial representative in Spain of the Count of Barcelona, the son and heir of King Alfonso XIII
Alfonso XIII of Spain
Alfonso XIII was King of Spain from 1886 until 1931. His mother, Maria Christina of Austria, was appointed regent during his minority...

. In 1941 Alfonso was godfather for the Count of Barcelona's younger son Alfonso
Infante Alfonso of Spain
Infante Alfonso of Spain was the younger brother of King Juan Carlos of Spain.-Early life:...

. In 1945, Alfonso resigned his position in the Spanish Air Force to show his support for the Estoril Manifesto, a manifesto of the Count of Barcelona arguing for the restoration of the monarchy. This decision put an end to his military career although he continued to pilot aircraft as a civilian.

Marriage and children

On 15 July 1909, Alfonso married Princess Beatrice of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (1884–1966), daughter of Alfred, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Alfred, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Alfred, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha was the third Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, and reigned from 1893 to 1900. He was also a member of the British Royal Family, the second son and fourth child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha...

 (second son of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom
Victoria of the United Kingdom
Victoria was the monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death. From 1 May 1876, she used the additional title of Empress of India....

). There was a civil ceremony in Schloss Rosenau
Schloss Rosenau, Coburg
Schloss Rosenau, called in English The Rosenau or Rosenau Palace, is a former castle, converted into a ducal country house, between the towns of Coburg and Rödental, formerly in Saxe-Coburg, now lying in Bavaria, Germany....

, followed by a Catholic religious ceremony in St. Augustine's Church in Coburg
Coburg is a town located on the Itz River in Bavaria, Germany. Its 2005 population was 42,015. Long one of the Thuringian states of the Wettin line, it joined with Bavaria by popular vote in 1920...

, and finally a Protestant religious ceremony in Schloss Callenberg.

The New York Times reported that Alfonso did not have the permission of his cousin King Alfonso XIII of Spain
Alfonso XIII of Spain
Alfonso XIII was King of Spain from 1886 until 1931. His mother, Maria Christina of Austria, was appointed regent during his minority...

 to marry and that he had been "stripped of his Spanish honours and decorations". Beatrice had been raised Protestant, and chose not to convert to Catholicism. Several days after the marriage it was revealed that King Alfonso XIII had no personal objection to the marriage: indeed, he encouraged it and used his influence to obtain a dispensation so as to allow a Catholic ceremony. Nevertheless, the Spanish government insisted that the marriage of a Spanish infante to a Protestant could not receive official approval.

Alfonso was removed from his regiment as a consequence of his marriage. The Times reported that he would also be "tried by a disciplinary council for marrying without the permission of the military authorities."

Alfonso and Beatrice had three children:
  • Infante Alvaro, Duke of Galliera (20 April 1910 – 22 August 1997)
  • Alfonso de Orleans (28 May 1912 – 18 November 1936)
  • Ataulfo de Orleans (20 October 1913 – 8 October 1974)

In 1911 Alfonso was restored to the rank of lieutenant in the army. In 1912 King Alfonso XIII issued a decree restoring his title.

In August 1913 Beatrice was received into the Catholic Church.

Trip to North America

In 1928 Alfonso visited North America accompanied by his wife and eldest son. The visit was intended to be a preliminary to a visit by King Alfonso XIII which never occurred. On 13 November they arrived in New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

, where they stayed at the home of General Cornelius Vanderbilt
Cornelius Vanderbilt III
Cornelius Vanderbilt III was a distinguished American military officer, inventor, engineer, and yachtsman, and a member of the prominent American Vanderbilt family.-Biography:...

. They were then the guests of Percy Rivington Pyne, II
Moses Taylor Pyne
Moses Taylor Pyne , was a financier and philanthropist, and one of Princeton University's greatest benefactors and most influential Trustees....

, at his country home in Roslyn
Roslyn, New York
Roslyn is a village in Nassau County, New York, on the North Shore of Long Island. As of the United States 2010 Census, the village population was 2,770...

, Long Island
Long Island
Long Island is an island located in the southeast part of the U.S. state of New York, just east of Manhattan. Stretching northeast into the Atlantic Ocean, Long Island contains four counties, two of which are boroughs of New York City , and two of which are mainly suburban...

. They proceeded to Philadelphia where they were the guests of Joseph E. Widener
Joseph E. Widener
Joseph Early Widener was a wealthy American art collector who was a founding benefactor of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C...

. Later they visited Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

 (where they met Vice President and Mrs. Charles G. Dawes
Charles G. Dawes
Charles Gates Dawes was an American banker and politician who was the 30th Vice President of the United States . For his work on the Dawes Plan for World War I reparations he was a co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. He served in the First World War, was U.S...

), Boston
Boston is the capital of and largest city in Massachusetts, and is one of the oldest cities in the United States. The largest city in New England, Boston is regarded as the unofficial "Capital of New England" for its economic and cultural impact on the entire New England region. The city proper had...

, Montreal
Montreal is a city in Canada. It is the largest city in the province of Quebec, the second-largest city in Canada and the seventh largest in North America...

 (where they met the Lieutenant Governor of Quebec, Narcisse Pérodeau
Narcisse Pérodeau
Narcisse Pérodeau was a lawyer, financier, politician, professor and the 14th Lieutenant Governor of Quebec. He was born in St. Ours and died in Montreal....

), Detroit, and Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls
The Niagara Falls, located on the Niagara River draining Lake Erie into Lake Ontario, is the collective name for the Horseshoe Falls and the adjacent American Falls along with the comparatively small Bridal Veil Falls, which combined form the highest flow rate of any waterfalls in the world and has...

. They left New York City and returned to Spain on 7 December.


In 1975 Alfonso died of a heart attack at his palace in Sanlúcar de Barrameda
Sanlúcar de Barrameda
Sanlúcar de Barrameda is a city in the northwest of Cádiz province, part of the autonomous community of Andalucía in southern Spain. Sanlúcar is located on the left bank at the mouth of the Guadalquivir River opposite the Doñana National Park, 52 km from the provincial capital Cádiz and...


The Fundación Infante de Orleans, a foundation dedicated to the preservation of historical aircraft in Spain, established in 1989, is named in his honour.


External links

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