Carmen Franco, 1st Duchess of Franco

María del Carmen Franco y Polo
Duchess of Franco
Dowager Marchioness of Villaverde
Duchess of Franco
Tenure20 November 1975 – 29 December 2017
SuccessorMaría del Carmen Martínez-Bordiú y Franco
BornMaría del Carmen Franco y Polo
(1926-09-14)14 September 1926
Oviedo, Asturias, Spain
Died29 December 2017(2017-12-29) (aged 91)
Madrid, Spain
SpouseCristóbal Martínez-Bordiú, 10th Marquis of Villaverde (m.1950–1998)
IssueCarmen Martínez-Bordiú, 2nd Duchess of Franco
María de la O Martínez-Bordiú
Francisco Franco, 11th Marquis of Villaverde
María del Mar Martínez-Bordiu
José Cristóbal Martínez-Bordiú
María de Aránzazu Martínez-Bordiú
Jaime Felipe Martínez-Bordiú
FatherFrancisco Franco
MotherCarmen Polo, 1st Lady of Meirás
Coat of arms of the 1st Duchess of Franco

María del Carmen Franco y Polo, 1st Duchess of Franco, Grandee of Spain, Dowager Marchioness of Villaverde (14 September 1926[1] – 29 December 2017) was the only child of Spain's Caudillo General Francisco Franco[2] and his wife Carmen Polo y Martínez-Valdés. In Asturian fashion, she is known by many nicknames such as Nenuca, Carmelilla, Carmencita, Cotota and Morita.[3]

Family life[]

Franco was born in Oviedo, Asturias, Spain.

On 10 April 1950, in El Pardo, she married Cristóbal Martínez-Bordiú, 10th Marquis of Villaverde (1 August 1922, Jaén, Mancha Real – 4 February 1998, Madrid).[4] Villaverde was a prominent surgeon. In 1968 he conducted the first heart transplant operation in Spain. The couple had seven children:

Shortly after her father's death in 1975, King Juan Carlos created her Duchess of Franco and a Grandee of Spain in her own right, with a Coat of Arms of new creation. These 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.[citation needed]


In 2008 the Duchess collaborated with Stanley G. Payne and Jesús Palacios Tapias to write Franco, My Father, a biography of her father from her point of view. She described her father as a warm person. With regards to the White Terror, she noted that "he didn't talk about it at home".[5] Franco is referred to as "Generalísimo" or "Head of State", who was an "intelligent and moderate", a "brave and catholic" man and who established an "authoritarian, but not totalitarian" régime.[6][7]

Franco chaired the Francisco Franco National Foundation, which is under criticism for its revisionist opinions e.g. by calling the Spanish coup of July 1936 an "armed referendum". Spanish historian Borja de Riquer called this a euphemism with reference to an era in which approximately 140,000 Spaniards were executed in a reign of terror by Falange, Guardia Civil and other Nationalist organisations.[8] During the premiership of José María Aznar the foundation received financial support from the Spanish Minister of Education and Culture. The funding was terminated in 2004. She is regarded as an icon by the remaining followers of Francoism.[7]


She died from cancer on 29 December 2017 in Madrid, aged 91.[9][10]




  1. ^ Andrés Rueda Román (4 March 2013). Franco, el ascenso al poder de un dictador. Ediciones Nowtilus S.L. pp. 100–. ISBN 978-84-9967-473-5.
  2. ^ Staff (20 December 1954). "Milestones". Time. Time Inc. Retrieved 3 July 2011.
  3. ^ Press, Associated (29 December 2017). "Carmen Franco, only child of Spain's dictator, dies at 91". Retrieved 29 December 2017 – via
  4. ^ "María del Carmen Franco y Polo, 1ª duquesa de Franco". 2011. Retrieved 3 July 2011.
  5. ^ 20Minutos. "Carmen Franco: "Mi padre era un bromista, pero la Guerra Civil lo cambió"". Retrieved 29 December 2017.
  6. ^ Ingendaay, Paul (2011-06-13). "Franco, der Tapfere". Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (in German). Retrieved 2017-02-28.
  7. ^ a b Jan-Henrik Witthaus; Patrick Eser (2015), Machthaber der Moderne: Zur Repräsentation politischer Herrschaft und Körperlichkeit (in German), 68 (Edition Kulturwissenschaft ed.), Transcript Verlag, p. 224, ISBN 9781594039003, online: Machthaber der Moderne, p. 224, at Google Books
  8. ^ Streck, Ralf (2003-08-26). "Im Bett mit Franco". Telepolis (in German). Retrieved 2016-02-28.
  9. ^ "Muere Carmen Franco y Polo a los 91 años". ABC (in Spanish). December 29, 2017. Retrieved 29 December 2017.
  10. ^ Herrero, Nieves (December 29, 2017). "Muere Carmen Franco a los 91 años de edad". El Mundo (in Spanish). Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  11. ^

External links[]

Spanish nobility
New title Duchess of Franco
Succeeded by
María del Carmen Martínez-Bordiú y Franco