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Carmen Franco, 1st Duchess of Franco facts for kids

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María del Carmen Franco y Polo
Marchioness of Villaverde
Carmen Franco (left) during her visit to Finland in 1971.
Duchess of Franco
Tenure 26 November 1975 – 29 December 2017
Successor María del Carmen Martínez-Bordiú y Franco
Born María del Carmen Franco y Polo
(1926-09-14)14 September 1926
Oviedo, Asturias, Spain
Died 29 December 2017(2017-12-29) (aged 91)
Madrid, Spain
Spouse(s) Cristóbal Martínez-Bordiú, 10th Marquis of Villaverde (m. 1950–1998)
Carmen Martínez-Bordiú, 2nd Duchess of Franco
María de la O Martínez-Bordiú
Francisco Franco, 2nd Lord of Meirás
María del Mar Martínez-Bordiu
José Cristóbal Martínez-Bordiú
María de Aránzazu Martínez-Bordiú
Jaime Felipe Martínez-Bordiú
Father Francisco Franco
Mother Carmen Polo, 1st Lady of Meirás
Coat of Arms of the 1st and 2nd Duchesses of Franco, Spanish Grandee
Coat of arms of the 1st Duchess of Franco

María del Carmen Franco y Polo, 1st Duchess of Franco, Grandee of Spain, Marchioness of Villaverde (14 September 1926 – 29 December 2017) was the only child of Spain's caudillo, General Francisco Franco and his wife, Carmen Polo y Martínez-Valdés. In Asturian fashion, she was known by many nicknames, such as Nenuca, Carmelilla, Carmencita, Cotota and Morita.


Franco was born in Oviedo. ..... However, a DNA test that would be evidence that could shed light on this issue is not available.

On 10 April 1950, in El Pardo, she married Cristóbal Martínez-Bordiú, 10th Marquis of Villaverde. Villaverde was a prominent surgeon. In 1968 he conducted the first heart transplant operation in Spain. The couple had seven children:

  • María del Carmen Martínez-Bordiú y Franco, 2nd Duchess of Franco (b. El Pardo, 26 February 1951), who married Prince Alfonso, Duke of Anjou, son of Infante Jaime of Spain, Duke of Segovia and grandson of King Alfonso XIII of Spain; and had issue.
  • María de la O "Mariola" Martínez-Bordiú y Franco (b. El Pardo, 19 November 1952), married in El Pardo on 14 March 1974 to Rafael Ardid y Villoslada (b. 1 February 1947), and had issue.
  • Francisco de Asís Franco y Martínez-Bordiú, 11th Marquis of Villaverde (b. 9 December 1954)
  • María del Mar "Merry" Martínez-Bordiú y Franco (b. 6 July 1956), married firstly at the Pazo de Meirás on 3 August 1977 and divorced in 1982, Joaquín José Giménez-Arnau y Puente (b. 14 September 1943), and had issue, and married secondly in New York City, New York on 4 August 1986, and divorced in 1991, Gregor Tamler, without issue.
  • José Cristóbal Martínez-Bordiú y Franco (b. El Pardo, 10 February 1958), married civilly in New York City, on 23 November 1984 and religiously in Madrid on 27 October 1990 to model Josefina Victoria Toledo y López (b. San José de Tirajana, Canary Islands, 1963), and had issue.
  • María de Aránzazu "Arantxa" Martínez-Bordiú y Franco (b. 16 September 1962), married at the Pazo de Meirás on 27 July 1996 to Claudio Quiraga y Ferro, without issue
  • Jaime Felipe Martínez-Bordiú y Franco (b. 8 July 1964), married in Madrid on 24 November 1995 to Nuria March y Almela (b. July 1966), divorced and had issue. Married secondly on 7 April 2021 in a civil ceremony in Madrid to Marta Fernández.

Shortly after her father's death in 1975, King Juan Carlos created her Duchess of Franco and a grandee of Spain, with a coat of arms of new creation. The arms are a variation of the arms of the de Andrade family of Galicia, from whom she is twice descended from the Pardo de Andrade branch, and twice again from the 7th counts of Lemos and Sarria.


She died from cancer on 29 December 2017 in Madrid, aged 91, and was buried next to her husband in the crypt of Almudena Cathedral.


  • Spain: Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Beneficence

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Carmen Franco y Polo para niños

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