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Infanta Elena, King Felipe’s sister, was the Royal Family’s representative to the Duchess of Alba’s funeral in Seville.

Infanta Elena with the Duchess of Alba's son and widower.

Infanta Elena with the Duchess of Alba’s son and widower.

The Duchess, the woman with the most titles of nobility on Earth, died this week after health complications.

Members of the Royal Family sent their condolences immediately after her death.

The Duchess, as a Spanish Grandee, had a special status with members of the Royal Family, at least when protocol was concerned.

The King, for example, has traditionally called grandees “cousin.” The Duchess also had the privilege of entering the Seville Cathedral on horseback.

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It is fitting for the Royal Household to have picked Infanta Elena to attend the funeral. She got married in Seville and is known to embrace the city’s traditions.

King Felipe and Queen Letizia made several stops around Rome today while on an introductory visit to Italy.

The new Spanish Monarchs, who have been introducing themselves to different neighboring countries, met with Italian President Giorgio Napolitano and his wife.

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King Felipe and Queen Letizia also met with other top Italian politicians, including Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.

© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos

© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos

King Felipe highlighted his family ties to Italy. His father, King Juan Carlos, war born in Rome while in exile.

Spanish aristocrats and family members of the Duchess of Alba, the woman with the most titles of nobility in the world, have gathered at her palace in Seville awaiting her possible death.

Spanish media are reporting that the Duchess’ confessor arrived at Dueñas Palace today.

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The duchess, 88, was rushed to the hospital with pneumonia in recent days.

Even though she is not a member of the Royal Family, the duchess is arguably the most well-known Spanish Grandee and a towering presence in Spanish society.

The Spanish Royal Household has for years been implementing budget cuts and transparency measures, efforts that have intensified since the proclamation of King Felipe.

Now Spanish media are reporting that members of the King’s Family — members beyond the nuclear Royal Family — will no longer be able to accept special perks, trips or discounts.

Infanta Elena, Duchess of Lugo.

Infanta Elena, Duchess of Lugo.

Members of the King’s Family include his sisters, Infanta Elena and Infanta Cristina, and his aunts, Infanta Pilar and Infanta Margarita.

Infanta Pilar said during a recent interview that royal perks nowadays amount to ease getting movie or bullfight tickets.

Spanish Supreme Court prosecutors are asking judges to reject two paternity suits against King Juan Carlos, according to newspaper El País.

Allegations by a Spanish citizen and a Belgian citizen go back years. Both say they are the product of Don Juan Carlos’ extramarital affairs.

However, their cases never went far. Before his abdication, King Juan Carlos was “inviolable” under the Spanish Constitution.

King Juan Carlos at the Royal Academy of Social Sciences this week. © Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos

King Juan Carlos at the Royal Academy of Social Sciences this week.
© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos

King Juan Carlos is no longer inviolable under law, but the ruling conservative party made him, Queen Sofia and Queen Letizia only answerable to the Supreme Court.

King Felipe has been silent about the recent mock pro-independence referendum in Catalonia, where more than 80 percent of voters supported splitting from Spain.

Members of the Royal Family are, instead, continuing with their public agenda while no doubt dealing with the situation in private.

© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos

King Felipe and Queen Letizia visiting Luxembourg’s royals this week. Queen Letizia was in Portugal last week. Both will visit Belgium tomorrow. © Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos

King Juan Carlos made comments widely interpreted to be against Catalan separatism before his abdication earlier this year.

And King Felipe has stressed Spanish unity and urged politicians to focus on economic growth during several recent messages.

While the Spanish Constitution doesn’t allow the King to make day-to-day political decisions, it falls on him to be an arbiter and moderator over the State’s political forces.

© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos

Their Majesties at a funeral for victims of a bus crash in Murcia over the weekend. © Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos

Meanwhile, Infanta Cristina, the King’s sister, still faces tax evasion charges tied to her husband’s business dealings.

She no longer faces money laundering charges, Spanish media reported last week, and may avoid trial because of the difference of opinion between authorities about her guilt.

The Royal Household has expressed respect for the judicial branch. And she may, according to gossip, end up resigning her dynastic rights.

King Felipe and Queen Letizia made history this week by hosting the first official dinner of their reign for Chilean President Michelle Bachelet.

The King and Queen greet Bachelet in the Throne Room.

The King and Queen greet Bachelet in the Throne Room.

The Spanish Royals treated Bachelet to their usual pomp, including a receiving ceremony at El Pardo Palace, a meeting at Zarzuela Palace and a dinner at the Madrid Royal Palace.

King Felipe toasts Bachelet in the formal dining room.

King Felipe toasts Bachelet in the formal dining room.

The dinner was also the first event in a long time where the public saw Queen Letizia wearing a tiara.

This time, it was the one Gen. Franco gave Queen Sofia on behalf of the Spanish government on her wedding day with King Juan Carlos.

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