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Welcome back for another episode of #DeafHistorySeries !

“I try to recover time talking with my shadow.”

Don Jaime, Duke of Segovia: The deaf Prince who renounced, then revived, his claim to the Spanish throne. A banner with text saying Deaf History Series With Dr. Jaipreet Virdi episode 4, Jaime de Borbon Y Battenberg. On the left is a painting of a young white boy in a red military jacket.
On 31 May 1906 at King Alfonso XIII of Spain and Princess Victoria Eugenie (Ena) of Battenberg married at the Royal Monastery of San Jerónimo in Madrid.

As the newlyweds left the church to journey through the jubilant crowd, a bomb concealed in a bouquet was thrown. Black and white photo of Ena and Alfonso looking lovingly at each other.
The couple were unharmed, but 23 people were killed and another 100 injured.

A Catalan anarchist wanting to spur revolution, was responsible for the bombing. Political tensions from this event would remain for decades. Photograph showing a chaotic scene with the royal carriage, horses, and people in the foreground. In the background, smoke from a bomb is shown.
Two years later, on 23 June, Alfonso and Ena’s second child, Jaime was born.

Unlike his brother Alfonso (born 1907), Jaime escaped the “Royal Curse” of hemophilia, carried through UK’s Queen Victoria’s line. His younger brother Gonzalo also had the disease. Portrait of Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain with her children; (L-R) Princess Maria Christina, Prince Alfonso, Prince Gonzalo, Prince Juan, Prince Jamie and Princess Beatriz.
At age four, Jaime suffered from double mastoiditis, a painful bacterial infection affecting the mastoid bone behind the ear. After regular treatments failed, surgery was recommended to break the mastoid bone.

The surgery also failed, leaving Jaime totally deaf & mute. Photograph of a 4-5 year old Jaime with his brother Alfonso and mother Ena
Judged “incurable” by Spanish specialists, Jaime received private tutoring and care from Valencia nurses whose mission was devoted to educating deaf-mutes.

Plans were made to send him to the Institut National de Jeunes Sourds de Paris but fell through. Photo of a young Jaime in a suit and tie.
During the summer of 1923, the New York Times & Time Magazine reported that King Alfonso summoned a famous New York osteopath--possibly Curtis Muncie—to treat Jaime with the new “bloodless and painless” finger surgery operation.

The reports were false; Jaime remained deaf. Young Jaime seated on a chair for a formal portrait.
In 1931, following the establishment of the Second Spanish Republic and the establishment of the monarchy, the royal family went into exile in France.

Alfonso, heir apparent, renounced his rights to the defunct throne in 1933 to marry a Cuban commoner. Alfonso in a wedding suit with his bride on their wedding day.
As Jaime would be next in line, King Alfonso pressured him to resign as well, arguing Jaime’s deafness would make him unsuitable for ruling. Under pressure, Jaime resigned in 1933. A year later, Don Gonzalo died from hemophilia, leaving only Don Juan as the male heir. Jaime in full military and royal dress.
On 4 March 1935, Don Jaime married the Countess Emanuela de Dampierre, an Italian aristocrat. They would have two sons named after Jaime’s hemophiliac brothers, but their marriage didn’t last; they divorced in 1947. Wedding day of Jaime and Emanuela, they are both dressed in wedding clothes and Jaime is wearing a military outfit and large hat.
Jaime perceived his renunciation due to his deafness as injustice. After King Alfonso’s death in 1941, he proclaimed himself as the legitimate male heir and head of the House of Borbón and the Duke of Anjou. He would attempt to gain back what he perceived to be rightfully his. Don Jaime in a suit and holding a cigarette. He is smiling off-camera.
On 6 December 1949, Don Jaime again retracted his renunciation of the throne. His decision was influenced by his second wife, German opera singer Charlotte Tiedemann, who had taught him ways to improve his speech.

This decision threw Spanish monarchists into turmoil. Charlotte and Jaime sitting in the back of a car, with coats and a blanket on their laps.
For 30 years Don Jaime fought to claim his throne. By 1969, he finally renounced his claim for his nephew, Don Juan Carlos, who would reign as King following restoration of the monarchy in 1975. That same year, Jaime died in Switzerland. In 1985 his remains were moved to Spain. Don Jaime in his elderly years, wearing full royal military dress, standing next to a painting showing his younger self.
Further Reading:

José M Zavala, Don Jaime, el trágico Borbón (La Esfera de los Libros, 2006).

Charles Powell, Juan Carlos of Spain: Self Made Monarch (MacMillian Press, 1996).

John Bergamini, The Spanish Bourbons: The History of a Tenacious Dynasty (Putnam, 1974).
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