The 18th Duchess of Medinaceli, who has died aged 96, was nine times a duchess, 18 times a marchioness, 19 times a countess, four times a viscountess and 14 times a grandee of Spain — as well as head of a family whose members included three saints and two Popes.
She inherited her titles in her own right on her father’s death in 1956, and could not remember how many castles she owned in her native Spain; her best guess was between 90 and 100.
....The Duchess should, perhaps, have earned a place in the Guinness Book of Records as the most titled human being on earth, but instead the accolade went to her colourful cousin, Cayetana, Duchess of Alba — a woman known for her valiant efforts to hold back the depredations of time with cosmetic surgery. It is said that when the publicity-shy Duchess of Medinaceli discovered that she was to be listed in the popular reference work, alongside assorted freaks and daredevils, she petitioned the king to be allowed to pass on 17 of her titles to her sons.
She felt that the Duchess of Alba, “with her English blood” (the Albas are directly descended from the Duke of Berwick, the illegitimate son of James II by Arabella Churchill, sister of the Duke of Marlborough), would enjoy the publicity.Surprised to learn that obituary is in The Telegraph? We didn't think so.