Edelmira Sampedro, the Cuban Countess of Covadonga

Count of Covadonga (formerly Prince) Alfonso of Borbón and Battenberg and his wife, Edelmira Sampedro, in 1933

Before the communist revolution that has sought to destroy all Cuban culture, Cuba had a rich history of celebrities and even royals. Meet the Countess of Covadonga, Edelmira Sampedro.

Via Periodico Cubano (my translation):

Edelmira Sampedro, the Countess of Covadonga

Alfonso of Borbon and Battenberg renounced his right to the throne of Spain to marry Cuban aristocrat Edelmira Sampedro and Robato

Throughout the history of world royalty, there has been no shortage of princes, kings, and queens who have renounced the crown for love. One of them was Alfonso of Borbón and Battenberg, who relinquished his right to the throne of Spain to marry Cuban aristocrat Edelmira Sampedro and Robato.

Their romance blossomed in Switzerland while Edelmira was on vacation. Alfonso, the Prince of Asturias and son of King Alfonso XIII, was spending time at the Lausanne sanatorium to treat hemophilia, a disease inherited from his mother, Queen Victoria Eugenia.

Edelmira was born in Sagua la Grande, Las Villas, in 1906. Her father was multimillionaire Pablo Sampedro and Ocejo. Despite coming from a wealthy family, her qualities were not enough to convince the Spanish monarch, who opposed his son’s relationship with the young woman. Before meeting the Cuban woman, the prince had rejected Princess Ileana of Romania, only to contradict his father.

Despite the king’s pressure, Alfonso renounced the throne and became the Count of Covadonga. Shortly thereafter, on June 21, 1933, the couple arranged their marriage in the Church of the Sacred Heart of Ouchy. The king did not attend the celebration, but the queen did, along with their daughters Beatriz and Cristina. In the royal family, Edelmira was known as “la puchunga” or “la puchunguita,” an affectionate nickname used in Cuba to refer to a loved one.

After a long honeymoon in Evian, France, the lovers divorced barely four years later, in 1937. The delicate health condition of the count and the distance they maintained for months put an end to their love.

Although Edelmira did not remarry, Alfonso married again, this time to another Cuban, Marta Rocafort and Altuzarra, whom he frequented during his visits to New York while still married. This relationship also did not have a happy ending, and they separated definitively in 1938, a few months before the count’s death due to a car accident.

Edelmira Sampedro and Robato was the only wife recognized by the royal family. After Alfonso’s death, she was granted a widow’s pension and some jewels from the queen. The Countess of Covadonga maintained her noble title until her death in 1994 in Coral Gables.

4 thoughts on “Edelmira Sampedro, the Cuban Countess of Covadonga”

  1. The old ruling class was far more organic and actually had class. What took its place never belonged in it and that always showed. Illegitimacy imposed by force and dependent on fear is never classy.

  2. castro who hated Cuba and its people, destroyed the Cuban aristocracy, an aristocracy that Queen Isabella II’s daughter on a state visit to island in the 1800s described as being so elegant that it did not have to envy Vienna’s aristocracy. Years later before the beast rose to power, Americans who would visit the Havana Yacht Club were taken aback [no doubt victims of their own preconceived prejudices] at how sophisticated and elegant Cuba’s premier country club was.

    Envious of Cuban society, he destroyed and exiled Cuba’s best families and replaced them with his family. In lieu of countless well-heeled and aristocratic families and newly rich businessmen that headed Cuba’s civil society, we have now become the living embodiment of the backwards third world country run by one ruling family [namely the castros] lording over peasant masses that were were supposed to have been according to his lies pre-1959.

    Instead of the Countess of Covadonga, we now have the booger princess.

    • Yes, Fidel Castro hated Cuba’s upper class, but it was personal, not political. His family had the money to be upper class but, being white trash, it was rejected by people who had both money and class. He never got over his resentment–megalomaniac narcissists don’t take rejection well.

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