Infante Alfonso Duke of Galliera of Spain Signed Birthday Letter 1959 to Prince Alfred of Edinburgh Daughter


Charming signed letter from Alfonso de Orleans y Borbón, Infante of Spain, Duke of Galliera (1886 – 1975), to Marie Melita, Duchess of Schleswig-Holstein nee Hohenlohe-Langenburg (1899-1967), dated 15th November 1959, it is accompanied by is oiginal envelope also hand addressed by the Infante, and with his address on the back flap. Signed with his nickname "Ali".

"My dear Marita
How nice of you to write to me when you are having so much trouble!! Thank you so much for your letter of 8/11/1 congratulating [me] for my birthday, which arrived punctually on the morning of 12/11/. We had a jolly birthday party, Bee [his wife], xxx, Ataulfo [his son] & Lada (quite friendly with one another thank God) Mr Angiles, the Escarios & other friends. I got beautiful presents Bee & Ataulfo gave me a magnificent xxx T.V. Caila a small xxx green parrot which I am busy taming, Caila a German portable transistor radio Clipper Nordemende etc. - Both Bee & I are very happy that for once you are looking after yourself instead of looking after others & working like mad to help everybody.

We need hardly add that the xxx is always at your disposal if you want to have a little xxx rest.
I enclose a letter for Sandra [no longer present] who kindly writes to me from Munich & I stupidly enough can’t remember her address.

You write that "Albe Halinki" is having xxx. It is very good for him to be less "cherished & spoilt" by you & see how grateful he should be to have such a wonderful wife. We men finally take it for granted, at least I do, & that is wrong & unfair. Please send my letter to Sandra as it will give you "les faits divers". You will see that we are fairly busy so please forgive this hurried scrawl & au revoir in Sanlucar I hope!

God bless you & make you well in xxx of xxx being allowed to xxx which would be very irritating, as the Swiss say "Tugend ist lastig xxx ist lutig"

We get regular news of Friedel & am so happy he is now doing well.

Fondest love from Bee xxx and your uhralte xxx


Alfonso was a Spanish military aviator and first cousin of Alfonso XIII of Spain. He was born in Madrid, Spain, the elder son of Infante Antonio, Duke of Galliera and his wife, Infanta Eulalia of Spain. On his paternal side he was a grandson of Antoine, Duke of Montpensier, while on his maternal side he was a grandson of Queen Isabella II of Spain. On 30 November 1886, in the Royal Palace of Madrid, he was baptised with the names Alfonso María Francisco Antonio Diego.

In 1899 he and his younger brother Luis Fernando were sent to England to be educated by the Jesuits at Beaumont College. They remained there until 1904.

In 1906 Alfonso graduated from the Academia Militar de Toledo (Military Academy of Toledo). In 1910 he trained as a pilot in 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 in Morocco

In May 1930 Alfonso was a passenger on the Graf Zeppelin flight from Seville to Brazil. He then continued in the Graf Zeppelin to New York City and visited President Herbert Hoover in Washington, D.C., before returning to Spain.

After the founding of the Second Spanish Republic on 14 April 1931, Alfonso was exiled to London. When he returned to Spain in 1932, he was imprisoned at Villa Cisneros (now Dakhla, Western Sahara). On 1 January 1933, Alfonso and some thirty other monarchist prisoners escaped in a boat, travelling 1800 miles to Lisbon.

In 1937 after the start of the Spanish Civil War Alfonso returned to Spain to head the aerial forces of General Francisco Franco. 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.

For many years Alfonso was the unofficial representative in Spain of the Count of Barcelona, the son and heir of King Alfonso XIII. In 1941 Alfonso was godfather for the Count of Barcelona's younger son Alfonso. In 1945, Alfonso resigned his position in the Spanish Air Force to show his support for the Lausanne 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.

On 15 July 1909, Alfonso married Princess Beatrice of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, daughter of Alfred, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (second son of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom). There was a civil ceremony in Schloss Rosenau, followed by a Catholic religious ceremony in St. Augustine's Church in Coburg, 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 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." They had three children.

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.

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, where they stayed at the home of General Cornelius Vanderbilt III. They were then the guests of Percy Rivington Pyne, II, at his country home in Roslyn, Long Island.They proceeded to Philadelphia where they were the guests of Joseph E. Widener. Later they visited Washington, D.C. (where they met Vice President and Mrs. Charles G. Dawes), Boston, Montreal (where they met the Lieutenant Governor of Quebec, Narcisse Pérodeau), Detroit, and Niagara Falls. 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.

Maria Melita was the eldest daughter of Ernst II, Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg and his wife Princess Alexandra of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. She married her second cousin, Wilhelm Friedrich, Hereditary Prince of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, the only son of Friedrich Ferdinand, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein and his wife Princess Karoline Mathilde of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg in 1916 at Coburg and had four children.

Envelope Size: 17.5 x 12 cm approx

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