Francis of Assisi of Bourbon


May 23, 2022

Francisco de Asís de Borbón (Aranjuez, May 13, 1822 - Épinay-sur-Seine, April 17, 1902), was King Consort of Spain, by his marriage to Queen Elizabeth II, and Duke of Cádiz.


He was the third son and second son of Infante Francisco de Paula de Borbón, son of Carlos IV, and Princess Luisa Carlota de Borbón-Two Sicilies. He was born in Aranjuez, where the court was at that time. He was baptized on the same day in the palace oratory.[1] His first two names were in honor of Saint Francis of Assisi. Two days later, on May 15, another infant would be born in the same place, his cousin Juan de Borbón y Braganza.[2] The historian Pierre Luz defined him in this way: «Francis of Assisi belongs to that well-defined category of men and of which only one illustrious representative is found in the house of Bourbon, the brother of Louis XIV. Small, thin, with a mannered gesture, a high-pitched voice and a walk like a mechanical doll. In private, the people called him Paquita, Doña Paquita, Paquita Custard or Paquito Mariquito. He liked baths, perfumes, jewelry and fine fabrics».[3]

King consort of Spain

According to political and dynastic criteria, Francis of Assisi was forced to marry his double first cousin, the young Queen Elizabeth II. Both their respective parents, the infant Francisco de Paula and King Ferdinand VII, were siblings, as were their mothers, Luisa Carlota and María Cristina. In addition, these last two were the daughters of a sister of his parents, María Isabel de Borbón. The election of Francisco de Asís as husband of Isabel II took place after rejecting other candidates; the queen's husband had to hold aristocratic rank, but not options to inherit another European throne.[4] According to Jesús Pabón in his biography of Narváez, the king consort was the father of several illegitimate children and had several known lovers. The marriage was celebrated on October 10, 1846 in the Throne Room of the Royal Palace of Madrid, together with the marriage of the Infanta Luisa Fernanda (Isabel's sister) with Antonio de Orleans, Duke of Montpensier. On the same day he received the dignity of king and the title of Majesty, in addition to the rank of Captain General of the armies.


Twelve children were born from his marriage to his cousin Elizabeth II, but only five of them survived childhood: [5] Luis de Borbón, given birth on May 2, 1849 in Madrid, this being stillborn. Fernando de Borbón, born and died on July 11, 1850 in Madrid.[6] María Isabel Francisca de Borbón (1851-1931), Infanta of Spain, was twice Princess of Asturias; Popularly called "la Chata", she married Prince Cayetano de Bourbon-Two Sicilies. She had no children. María Cristina de Borbón, born on January 5, 1854 in Madrid and died on January 7, 1854 in Madrid.[7] An abortion, which took place on September 23, 1855 in San Lorenzo de El Escorial. Francisco de Asís de Borbón, born and died on June 21, 1856 in Madrid. Alfonso XII (1857-1885), King of Spain. María de la Concepción de Bourbon (1859-1861). María del Pilar de Borbón (1861-1879), infanta of Spain and died prematurely of seizures. María de la Paz de Borbón (1862-1946), Infanta of Spain; married to her cousin, Prince Ludwig Ferdinand of Bavaria. María Eulalia de Borbón (1864-1958), Infanta of Spain, married to her cousin Antonio de Orleans y Borbón. Francisco de Asís Leopoldo de Borbón (1866), Infante of Spain, was sponsored by Leopold II of Belgium. He died prematurely. It is possible that the consanguinity of the parents and grandparents influenced the premature deaths of several of the infants.


The government of Isabel II and Francisco de Asís de Borbón produced the occasional disagreement to which were added the constant palace intrigues, plans, collusion