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BARONESS TWICE MARRIED TO ONE HUSBAND. A curious romance of the peerage was revealed in the Probate Court, when the property, valued at about £40,000, of the late Fabia, Baroness Stanley of Alderley, -was in question. The baroness was a Spanish, lady. Her career and that of her husband are thus briefly summarised in "Burkes Peerage": — " Henry Edward John, third Baron Stanley of Alderley, sometime in" the Diplomatic Service. Born July 11, 1827; married August, 1862, Fabia (who died May 15. 1905), daughter of Don Santiago Frederico San Roman, of Seville. Died without issue December 10, 1903." But the actual facts, as stated by counsel, were somewhat different. According to counsel's statement, the lady first married a Spanish gentleman, Don Ramon Perez y Abril, in 1851. The gentleman was still alive when she '" married" Lord Stanley in 1869, but the Don died the following year. In 1574 the lady again married Lord Stanley. Plaintiff was Edward Lyulph, fourth Baron Stanley of Alderley, who was heir-at-law of his brother, the third baron. His lordship propounded a will, dated October 26, 1891, executed in Geneva by the late baroness, who died at Bel Air, Alderley. Edge, Cheshire, on May 15, 1905. Defendant, Mr St George William _ Lane Fox-Pitt, claimed as sole devisee and universal legatee under a will dated 1869. A<Jcording to Mr Priestly, for the present baron, his client- propounded a will dated October 26, 1891, of the late baroness: made at Geneva. It was a holograph will, made without attesting witnesses, but was in,, accordance with the law of that country. Plaintiff was heir-at-law, and one of the next-of-kin of his deceased brother, the third baron, and under the will of the baroness, of which T>ro i bate > was asked, the lady gave all her Swiss and English property to her husband and his heirs. Defendant, Mr Lane Fox-Pitt, propounded a will of 1869, and he had alleged in regard to the other will incapacity, and made other pleas. It was in the course of inquiries made in> connection with this suit that it was discovered that testatrix had property in Spain, and when inquiries were made it was discovered that she had made a will there, dated October 1 18, luvt, in the name of Donna Serafina Fernandez y Funes, by which she revoked all previous Spanish wills. Thus the disclosure of the double marriage 1 romance was brought about. In October, 1892, the late baroness made a will, when it was suggested she was not of sound mind. Had the present action been fought out, said counsel, it would have been necessary to decide these questions :-— Whether deceased was the lawful widow of the J third Baron Stanley. Whether she was the . lady known m Spain as Donna Funes- Whether she was of sound mind at the time of the will" of 1892. But testator, it was admitted, continued counsel, married a Spanish gentleman, Don Ramon Perez y Abril, in 1851, and "married" Lord Stanley in 1869, executing the will propounded by defendant one month later. Don Ramon, the lady's first husband, died in 1870. She subsequently again marriedLord Stanley in 1874. Under the terms of the compromise which had now been' arrived at between the interested parties, the will of 1891 would be admitted to probate. The result would be "that plaintiff got -all the English and Swiss property, valued at about £20,000, leaving the Spanish defendants and other inter veners property in Spain 'to a similar value. Other parties interested consented, through their counsel, to this course. His Lordship thereupon pronounced for the will of October 26, 1891 ; made a declaration that the lady known in Spain as Donna Funes was the third Baroness Stanley ; and that she was domiciled in England. The present Baron Stanley, the fourth baron and brother of the late" peer, was formerly vice-chairman of the London , School Board.

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Bibliographic details

Star, Star, Issue 9445, 20 January 1909

Word Count

ROMANCE OF A PEERAGE. Star, Issue 9445, 20 January 1909