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Francis of Spain

Francis of Spain
Duke of Cádiz

Photograph by Herbert, c 1860
King consort of Spain
Tenure 10 October 1846 – 30 September 1868
Spouse Isabella II of Spain
Isabella, Princess of Asturias
Alfonso XII of Spain
Infanta Maria de la Paz
Infanta Eulalia, Duchess of Galliera
Full name
Francisco de Asís María Fernando de Borbón y Borbón-Dos Sicilias
House House of Bourbon
Father Infante Francisco de Paula of Spain
Mother Princess Luisa Carlotta of Naples and Sicily
Born (1822-05-13)13 May 1822
Aranjuez, Spain
Died 17 April 1902(1902-04-17) (aged 79)
Épinay-sur-Seine, France
Burial El Escorial
Religion Roman Catholicism

Francis of Spain (13 May 1822 – 17 April 1902) was King consort of Spain as spouse of Isabella II of Spain. He is commonly styled the Duke of Cádiz, the title he held before his marriage.


Francis was born at Aranjuez, Spain, the second son (first to survive infancy) of Infante Francisco de Paula of Spain, and of his wife (and niece), Princess Luisa Carlotta of Naples and Sicily. He was named after Saint Francis of Assisi.

Francis' paternal grandparents were Charles IV of Spain and Maria Luisa of Parma. His maternal grandparents were Francis I of the Two Sicilies and María Isabella of Spain. Maria Isabella was a daughter of Charles IV and Maria Luisa.

Marriage and children

Francis married Isabella, his double first cousin, on 10 October 1846. There is evidence that Isabella would rather have married his younger brother, Infante Enrique, Duke of Seville, and complained bitterly about her husband's effeminate habits after their first night together.

Twelve children were born during the marriage, of whom five reached adulthood:

There has been considerable speculation that some or all of Isabella's children were not fathered by Francis; this has been bolstered by rumours that Francis was either homosexual or physically unable to complete the sex act.

As Francis and Isabella were double first cousins (their fathers were brothers and their mothers were sisters—and both nieces of their respective husbands) nuclear DNA typing is problematic, as Francis and Isabella shared a significant number of genes, but it does not make it impossible; the main impediment is that nuclear DNA typing for this purpose is most accurate when DNA from both parents is compared with that of their children and not with that of more distant descendants (who also carry the genes of other family lines). In addition, testing would require exhumation of Francis, Isabella, and one or all of their children.

Y chromosome testing would show whether a putative male-line descendant (such as Louis Alphonse, Duke of Anjou or Juan Carlos of Spain) was descended from the same male line as Francis, but would not prove that Francisco himself (as opposed to Enrique or another male-line family member) was the father of Isabella's children.

Mitochondrial DNA testing, a common form of testing used in forensic identification, would not be useful in this case, as mitochondrial DNA is only passed on from the mother.

Later life

Starting in 1864, Francis acted as president of the Spanish Privy Council (Consejo del Reino). In 1868 he went into exile with his wife in France and adopted the incognito title of Count of Moratalla. In 1870 Francis and Isabella were amicably separated and, with time, became good friends, which they had certainly not been while she was Queen regnant. The 1874 restoration placed his son Alfonso XII on the throne.

In 1881 Francis took up residence at the château of Épinay-sur-Seine (currently the city hall). He died there in 1902. His wife Isabella and two of his daughters, Isabella and Eulalia, were present at his deathbed.[1]

Titles, styles, honours and arms

Titles and styles

Royal styles of
Francis, Duke of Cádiz
Reference style His Majesty
Spoken style Your Majesty
Alternative style Sir
  • 13 May 1822 – 10 October 1846: His Royal Highness Infante Francis of Spain, Duke of Cádiz
  • 10 October 1846 – 30 September 1868: His Majesty The King
  • 30 September 1868 – 17 April 1902: His Majesty King Francis of Spain






Bergamini, John D. The Spanish Bourbons: The History of a Tenacious Dynasty. New York: Putnam, 1974. ISBN 0-399-11365-7

See also

Francis, Duke of Cádiz
Cadet branch of the Capetian dynasty
Born: 13 May 1822 Died: 17 April 1902
Spanish royalty
Title last held by
Maria Christina of the Two Sicilies
as queen consort
King consort of Spain
10 October 1846 – 30 September 1868
Title next held by
Maria Vittoria dal Pozzo
as queen consort
Titles in pretence
Loss of title
King consort of Spain
30 September 1868 – 25 June 1870
Title next held by
Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg
as queen consort
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