María del Rosario Fitz-James Stuart y de Silva, 18th Duchess of Alba de Tormes, Grandee of Spain was the head of the House of Alba and the third woman to carry the title in her own right.
She was born at Liria Palace on 28 March 1926, as the only child of the 17th Duke of Alba (a prominent politician and diplomat during the 1930s and 1940s), and his wife, María del Rosario de Silva y Gurtubay, 9th Marchioness of San Vicente del Barco. Her godmother was the Queen Consort of Spain, Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg, King of Spain Alfonso XIII de Borbón's wife.
The matriarch's senior title was Duchess of Alba, but she had more than 40 others. According to Guinness World Records, she had more titles recognized by an existing government than any other noble in the world.
As the male-preference primogeniture from James FitzJames, she also claimed the title of Duchess of Berwick. She was a direct descendant of the King James II of Great Britain, through his illegitimate son James FitzJames, 1st Duke of Berwick by his mistress Arabella Churchill.