Feliz cumpleaños, Duchess of Alba!
The Spanish royal (and we do mean royal -- she possesses 46 aristocratic titles, more titles recognized by an existing government than any other noble in the world) celebrates her 86th birthday today, and honestly, she's kind of our hero.
Here's your Duchess of Alba primer: Her full name is Maria del Rosario Cayetana Alfonsa Victoria Eugenia Francisca Fitz-James Stuart y de Silva. (Fine, we'll 'fess up: we copied and pasted that.) The only child of the Duke of Alba, she plunged into two marriages before marrying again last year, getting controversially hitched to commoner Alfonso Diez, who's 25 years her junior. (FYI, he's formally renounced any claim to her wealth.)
Duchess Cayetana is something of a force of nature: she's had seven children, and her fortune is estimated between $800 million to $4.7 billion, including a host of splendid Spanish real estate, paintings by Goya and Velazquez, a first-edition copy of "El Quixote" and letters written by Christopher Columbus. In her spare time, she even hangs with hunks like Tom Cruise and Antonio Banderas.
And finally, we think the duchess has brilliantly eccentric style, and we're not alone; she appeared on Vanity Fair's International Best-Dressed List in 2009. Her penchant for mixing kooky prints and bright colors with her favorite lace tights means she's always a sartorial surprise at events.
So yeah. We love her.
Take a look back at the matriarch's best outfits (going back to 1962!) below.
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