Luisa Isabel Alvarez de Toledo, who was known as Spain’s ‘Red Duchess,’ left her children out of her will after marrying a younger woman and now the future of her estate is set to be decided in court.
The former partner of the Duchess, German Liliana Maria Dahlmann, faces de Toledo’s three children to contest ownership of a palace in San Lucar de Barrameda, a town in southern Cadiz.
As a National Heritage site, the palace is managed by the Spanish Ministry of Culture. As de Toledo’s widow, Dahlmann, may stay at the palace indefinitely under the terms of her will. The Duchess also named her as the person responsible for the palace’s archive which has historical documents going back as far as 1228.
De Toledo was dubbed the Red Duchess after her renowned opposition to Franco. The aristocrat was expelled from a number of convent schools and spent eight months in prison in 1967 following her role in a protest demanding compensation for farmers who had lands contaminated after an accidental collision between two American warplanes resulted in hydrogen bombs being dropped in Palomares in southern Spain.
The Duchess moved to France after being sentenced to prison again in 1970 for writing a book that was critical of police brutality and prison conditions. She returned to Spain after Franco´s death in 1975.
A ruling is expected by the end of the month.