Ira Von Fürstenberg, the ‘Princess of Marbella’, has died

Photo: Ira with Prince Alfonso 1955 / Wikimedia CC

Italian media announced that on the afternoon of February 19, the princess had passed away in Rome at the age of 83. Ira Von Fürstenberg was the first ‘it’ girl in history, she co-created the Marbella brand and was amember of what she referred to as the ‘happy few’ rather than ‘the jet set’.

She was born Virginia Carolina Theresa Pancrazia Galdina zu Fürstenberg in Rome in 1940, daughter of the German prince Tassilo von Fürstenberg and Clara Agnelli, sister of Gianni Agnelli, the man behind FIAT. When she was just 15, she married the Spanish-German Prince Alfonso de Hohenlohe-Langenburg in Venice, with the bride, of course, arriving at the wedding in a gondola.

On their travels, the couple came to Marbella where Alfonso fell in love with the fishing village that Marbella was at the time and bought a large finca for 14,000 pesetas (about €80 at the time). There they created the legendary Marbella Club hotel, which propelled the Costa del Sol on the path to where it is today.

The Hohenlohe-Fürstenberg marriage was short-lived and she left the prince taking their two children:Christoph, who died in 2006 in a prison in Bangkok, Thailand, and Hubertus, an Olympic skier, photographer and singer

Ira Von Fürstenberg lived between London, Rome and Madrid where she owned property and organised her last big party, in 2022, at the Palacio de Liria in Madrid, where she gathered some of the best-known faces of high society for her 80th birthday celebration.

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Written by

Kevin Fraser Park

Kevin was born in Scotland and worked in marketing, running his own businesses in UK, Italy and, for the last 8 years, here in Spain. He moved to the Costa del Sol in 2016 working initially in real estate. He has a passion for literature and particularly the English language which is how he got into writing.