Infanta Pilar, Duchess of Badajoz

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Infanta Pilar
Duchess of Badajoz
Viscountess of La Torre
Un rastrillo solidario para ayudar a las ninas y ninos en situacion de desamparo 01 (cropped).jpg
Pilar de Borbón in 2017
Born(1936-07-30)30 July 1936
Ville Saint Blaise, Cannes, French Third Republic
Died8 January 2020(2020-01-08) (aged 83)
Ruber Internacional Hospital, Madrid, Kingdom of Spain
Luis Gómez-Acebo y Duque de Estrada, 2nd Viscount of La Torre
(m. 1967;died 1991)
IssueSimoneta Gómez-Acebo y Borbón
Juan Gómez-Acebo y Borbón, 3rd Viscount of La Torre
Bruno Gómez-Acebo y Borbón
Luis Gómez-Acebo y Borbón
Fernando Gómez-Acebo y Borbón
Full name
María del Pilar Alfonsa Juana Victoria Luisa Ignacia y Todos los Santos de Borbón y Borbón
House Bourbon
Father Infante Juan, Count of Barcelona
Mother Princess María de las Mercedes of Bourbon-Two Sicilies
Religion Roman Catholic

Infanta Pilar of Spain, Duchess of Badajoz and Viscountess of La Torre (Spanish: María del Pilar Alfonsa Juana Victoria Luisa Ignacia y Todos los Santos de Borbón y Borbón; 30 July 1936 – 8 January 2020), sometimes known more simply as Pilar de Borbón, [1] was the elder daughter of Infante Juan, Count of Barcelona and Princess María Mercedes of the Two Sicilies, and older sister of King Juan Carlos I. [2]


Early life

Firstborn daughter of Juan de Borbón y Battenberg and María de las Mercedes de Borbón y Orleans, Counts of Barcelona, she was born in Ville Saint Blaise, home of the counts of Barcelona in Cannes (Alpes-Maritimes, France), on 30 July 1936. [3] She was baptized in Cannes, in the church of Rins, with the name of María del Pilar Alfonsa Juana Victoria Luisa Ignacia de Todos los Santos de Borbón y Borbón. Her godparents were her paternal grandfather, King Alfonso XIII and her maternal grandmother the Princess Louise of Orléans, although Alfonso XIII acted by delegation as he didn't want to meet his wife Queen Victoria Eugenia. From her birth, as the daughter of the heir to the Crown of Spain she was given the title of Infanta of Spain with treatment of Royal Highness. However, the official recognition of that title came when her brother was already King of Spain. [4]

When she was months old, the family moved to Rome where the Spanish Royal Family settled in exile. In 1941, after the resignation of Alfonso XIII, her father became the holder of the dynastic rights of the Spanish Crown in exile. [5] During World War II she lived at Lausanne in Switzerland, where her grandmother, Queen Victoria Eugenia, lived. In 1946 the family resettled at Estoril in Portugal. [6]

Her family tried to marry her to Baudouin of Belgium, who ended up marrying Queen Fabiola. Fabiola accompanied the Infanta to the meeting with the future king of Belgium that organized the Queen Victoria Eugenia.[ clarification needed ] [7] [8]

At the wedding of her brother Juan Carlos I of Spain with Princess Sofia of Greece, in 1962, she was one of eight bridesmaids. [9]

Marriage and family

Pilar needed to renounce her rights of succession to the Spanish throne to marry a commoner as stipulated by the Pragmatic Sanction of Charles III on marriages of members of the royal family; later in 1987 she was made Infanta by her brother King Juan Carlos with the style of Royal Highness . [10]

She married Don Luis Gómez-Acebo y Duque de Estrada, 2nd Viscount of La Torre, Grandee of Spain (23 December 1934 – 9 March 1991) on 5 May 1967 in Lisbon, Portugal at Jerónimos Monastery. [11] [12] They had five children:

Her husband died of lymphatic cancer in 1991. [13]

Equestrian sport

Pilar de Borbón had been supporting international equestrian sport. She was President of the International Equestrian Federation from 1994 to 2006, succeeded by HRH Princess Haya bint al Hussein. [14] She wrote the foreword of the official Spanish translation of the national instruction handbook of the German National Equestrian Federation, Técnicas Avanzadas de Equitación - Manual Oficial de Instrucción de la Federación Ecuestre Alemana. [15]

From 1996 to 2006 she was a member of the International Olympic Committee for Spain, when she became an honorary member, and Member of the Executive Board of the Spanish Olympic Committee. [16]

Philanthropic and other activities

Pilar de Borbón was one of the founders of Asociación Nuevo Futuro ("New Future Association") in 1968, an international child support organization [17] , and was its president and then president of honor [18] . Until her death, she was one of the leaders and supporters of the Rastrillo Nuevo Futuro event, which provided part of the income that financed Asociación. The event even received the visit of the Queens of Spain, Letzia and Sofia. Rastrillo has always been a place of meeting, solidarity and enjoyment for her, wrote ¡Hola! magazine in January 2019. Her last public appearance was in "Rastrillo" on 23 November 2019. [19] [20]

Pilar de Borbón was also a member of the board of directors of the Queen Sofía Spanish Institute in New York City, president of the World Monuments Fund España and, from 2007 to 2009, president of Europa Nostra, the European Federation for the Defense of Cultural Heritage. [21] [22] She was also a music fan and accompanied her brother, King Juan Carlos of Spain, and nephews to bullfighting matches. [23] [24]

Financial holdings

Mossack Fonseca files document that in August 1974, Pilar de Borbón became president and director of the Panama-registered company Delantera Financiera SA (registered May 1969) with her husband as secretary-treasurer and director. In 1993, London-based Timothy Lloyd who had represented the undisclosed owner of the company said that Pilar de Borbón owned it. After March 1993, the intermediary representing the company was Madrid-based Gómez-Acebo & Pombo  [ es ] Abogados, a law firm founded by Pilar de Borbón's brother-in-law Ignacio Gómez-Acebo  [ es ]. From July 2006 until its dissolution in June 2014, five days before the installation of her nephew Felipe VI, Pilar de Borbón's son Bruno Alejandro Gómez-Acebo Borbón was director and treasurer of the company. [25] [26] [27] On 7 April 2016 she admitted the accusations but making clear that she never evaded. [28] [29]

Illness and death

Pilar was operated for an intestinal obstruction on 2 February 2019 in Madrid [30] [31] was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2019, being made public in May of the same year. [32] [33] On 5 January 2020, she was admitted to the hospital as her condition worsened. [34] She died on 8 January 2020 at the Ruber Internacional Hospital in Madrid, with her family at her side. [13]

She was cremated on 9 January 2020 and her ashes were buried alongside her husband in Saint Isidore Cemetery, Madrid, in a private ceremony. [35] [36]





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  1. Infanta Pilar's actual given name is María del Pilar; however, due to the high number of women in Spain named María, as is the convention, she uses the name Pilar. For more information, see Spanish names.
  2. Spain’s Infanta Pilar has died
  4. Infanta Pilar de Borbón y Borbón (in Spanish)
  5. Abdicación de Alfonso XIII, 15 de enero de 1941 (in Spanish)
  6. Pilar de Borbón, la infanta nacida en el exilio al poco de estallar la Guerra Civil (in Spanish)
  7. Por amor a Balduino (in Spanish)
  8. OPINIÓN0 Sin proponérselo, Fabiola le quitó el novio a la Infanta Pilar, hermana del rey Juan Carlos (in Spanish)
  9. Juan Carlos y Sofía son ya marido y mujer (in Spanish)
  10. " - Documento BOE-A-1987-25284". Retrieved 15 July 2018.
  11. de Obregón, Antonio. "Boda de S.A.R. la Infanta Doña Pilar de Borbón con Don Luis Gómez-Acebo en el Monasterio de los Jerónimos de Belem". ABC (in Spanish). p. 41. Retrieved 23 August 2019.
  12. Luis Gómez-Acebo, el motor de una familia que se quedó huérfana muy pronto (in Spanish)
  13. 1 2 Hurtado, Alexandra (8 January 2020). "Spanish Royal Family members say goodbye to Princess before her death" . Retrieved 8 January 2020.
  14. "FEI Presidents since 1921". 12 March 2012. Retrieved 15 July 2018.
  15. Federación Ecuestre Alemana (2012). Picobello Publishing. ed. Técnicas Avanzadas de Equitación - Manual Oficial de Instrucción de la Federación Ecuestre Alemana. Picobello Publishing. pp. 278. ISBN   9788493672188.
  16. "HRH the Infanta Doña Pilar de BORBÓN". International Olympic Committee. Retrieved 24 December 2017.
  17. ¿Qué es Nuevo Futuro y cuáles son sus hogares? (in Spanish)
  18. Junta directiva (in Spanish)
  19. La Infanta Doña Pilar vuelve al Rastrillo Nuevo Futuro arropada por sus hijos (in Spanish)
  20. El último acto público en el que vimos a la infanta Pilar: su querido Rastrillo Nuevo Futuro (in Spanish)
  21. Muere la infanta Pilar, hermana mayor del rey Juan Carlos (in Spanish)
  22. Muere la Infanta Pilar de Borbón, hermana mayor de Don Juan Carlos, a los 83 años (in Spanish)
  23. Con su sobrina la Infanta Elena disfrutando de una tarde de toros (in Spanish)
  24. Pilar de Borbón y el Rey Juan Carlos: una relación más allá de la fraternidad (in Spanish)
  25. (3 April 2016) The Power Players, Juan Carlos I of Spain - Pilar de Borbón The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, retrieved 5 April 2016
  26. "The Power Players: Pilar de Borbón". ICIJ. Retrieved January 9, 2020.
  27. Segovia, Carlos (3 April 2016). "Pilar de Borbón mantuvo 40 años una sociedad en Panamá". El Mundo (in Spanish). Madrid . Retrieved January 9, 2020.
  28. Pilar de Borbón admite ser titular de una sociedad opaca en Panamá (in Spanish)
  29. La infanta Pilar reconoce la sociedad en Panamá, pero dice que nunca evadió (in Spanish)
  30. Alcázar, Mariángel (4 February 2019). "La infanta Pilar, operada de urgencia por un problema intestinal" (in Spanish). Retrieved 12 January 2020.
  31. "La infanta Pilar, operada de urgencia". El País (in Spanish). Prisa. 4 February 2019. Retrieved 12 January 2020.
  32. "La infanta Pilar de Borbón confirma que padece cáncer". La Vanguardia (in Spanish). 29 May 2019. Retrieved 12 January 2020.
  33. "Pilar de Borbón padece cáncer". El Periódico (in Spanish). Grupo Zeta. 26 May 2019. Retrieved 12 January 2020.
  34. EFE (7 January 2020). "Preocupación por la infanta Pilar de Borbón, ingresada en una clínica en Madrid". El Mundo (in Spanish). Unidad Editorial Información General, S.L.U. Retrieved 12 January 2019.
  35. Pilar de Borbón rompe los hábitos de la familia del Rey y fue incinerada (in Spanish)
  36. Sin pompa ni oropeles: el atípico funeral de la infanta Pilar de Borbón (in Spanish)
  37. "Boletín Oficial del Estado" (PDF). Retrieved 15 July 2018.
  38. (in Spanish) Royal Decree 1297/2002 Infanta Pilar of Spain member of the Royal Order of the Sports Merit.)
  39. Wedding of Juan Carlos of Spain and Sophia of Greece Archived 2014-03-06 at the Wayback Machine
  40. Membership of the Constantinian Order Archived 2012-03-05 at the Wayback Machine
  41. Portugal Archived 2013-01-17 at the Wayback Machine
  42. "Casa de Su Majestad el Rey de España : Actividades y Agenda : Cena de Gala ofrecida por Sus Majestades los Reyes en honor de SS.EE. el Presidente de la República de Portugal y Sra. de Cavaco Silva". Retrieved 15 July 2018.