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Nation bids farewell to Pilar de Borbón, King Juan Carlos' sister
By thinkSPAIN Team Thu, Jan 9, 2020
KING Juan Carlos I's elder sister Pilar de Borbón's funeral was today (Thursday) after the 83-year-old passed away in Madrid's Ruber Internacional hospital.
The Duchess of Badajoz – who did not have a Royal title – was a year older than the Rex Emeritus, who abdicated in June 2014 in favour of his son, Felipe VI.
She had been diagnosed with bowel cancer over a year ago.
Pilar de Borbón's closest family, including Juan Carlos I and his wife, Queen Sofía, had been summoned to the hospital on Wednesday, warned that the Duchess was near the end.
She was able to bid her family farewell and they were at her bedside when she lost her battle for life at 14.30.
Her coffin lies in 'State' and members of the aristocracy, government, her closest friends and the public have been paying tribute and laying flowers for her and attending a funeral service.
She will be cremated in the next few days and her ashes buried at San Isidro cemetery.
A strong and feisty character like her brother the retired King, 82 – to whom she was very close – Pilar de Borbón was very active in charity, attending events to help raise the profile of humanitarian organisations.
At Christmas, despite her ailing health, the Duchess opened a flea market held in aid of the charity Nuevo Futuro, which works with homeless children.
“This market has given me so much joy,” she said at the time.
“It's wonderful to see so many children being given a life and the chance to meet caring, decent people who are willing to help them without expecting anything in return.”
A widow with five children, Pilar de Borbón gave up her Royal rights for love – Viscount La Torre, Luis Gómez Acebo, was not a Royal, meaning marrying him ended her dynastic benefits.
This rule has changed, given that Spain's present King Felipe VI has been married since May 2004 to Letizia Ortiz, a high-profile TV news reporter, who is now known as HRH Queen Letizia.
But Pilar de Borbón's non-Royal status meant she was able to dedicate a lot of time to charity, and was frequently in the media.
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