The Ist Duke of Berwick, illegitimate and Jacobite

James Fitzjames was born in 1670. His father was James II of England and VII of Scotland, younger brother of Charles II. His mother was Mrs Arabella Churchill, one of the latter James’s numerous mistresses, the Stuart brothers being highly sexed and beyond doubt very attractive to women.

His first language was French rather than English, as he was entirely educated under the lash of Roman Catholic monks in France. He was created Duke of Berwick (A Scottish title) in 1687, but got out of England just in time when the so-called Glorious Revolution toppled James II off the British throne thanks to Marlborough and most of the Protestant lords.

Artist's impression of a part of the Battle of Almanza /

Artist’s impression of a part of the Battle of Almanza /

James Fitzjames was a proficient soldier who fought in Flanders for the Spanish, in the Irish campaign against the Irish and in France against the Camisards, the last major Protestant rebellion in almost modern Europe. It goes without saying that he, like his father, was a devout RC. He fought so well he was made a Marshal of France, after which he went off to Spain where he helped establish Philip (Felipe) V on the throne during the Wars of the Spanish Succession (q.v.). It was James who decisively won the Battle of Almansa in 1707.

Cayetana Fitzjames- Stuart, 18th Duchess of Alba /

Cayetana Fitzjames- Stuart, 18th Duchess of Alba /

As commander of all the French forces, including the navy, he was killed in action in 1733, but not before founding the Fitzjames-Stuart Spanish dynasty known as the Dukes and Duchesses of Alba, which still exists in the frail but courageous form of the present Duchess, who had recently married again at past eighty years of age. Her name is Cayetana, and she is the only Spanish duchess with a Scottish surname.

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