James FitzJames held the highest aristocratic titles in as many as three countries – England, France and Spain.
James FitzJames, whose descendants managed to accumulate an incredible number of European noble titles, was born on August 21, 1670. He was the illegitimate son of British King James II. Stuart (who was deposed from the throne among other things because of his Catholic faith). When his father the king had to leave England, the young James FitzJames also went into exile. Catholic rulers of the rest of Europe considered King James II. still the legitimate rulers of England and Scotland, and to make up for his lost real power, endowed his family with numerous titles.
As mentioned, James FitzJames was of illegal descent. Namely, his mother was the king’s mistress Arabella Churchill – the sister of the powerful first duke of Marlborough (one of the most famous military leaders in British history). By maternal line, James FitzJames ’grandfather was Sir Winston Churchill (ancestor of the famous 20th-century prime minister).
James FitzJames is specific in that he held the highest aristocratic titles in as many as three countries – England, France and Spain. Namely, his father the king, while still ruling in England, proclaimed him Duke of Berwick. Then, after his father the king and his Catholic family were expelled from England, James FitzJames received in France from King Louis XIV. the title of Duke of Fitz-James (French: Duc de Fitz-James), and he was also proclaimed Marshal of France (French: Maréchal de France).
In Spain, James FitzJames received as many as two ducal titles – from Berwick, and from Liria and Jérica (Spanish: Duque de Berwick, Duque de Liria y Jérica). Later, his descendants accumulated a number of ducal titles in Spain through marriages (as many as 7). Therefore, his current heiress – Cayetana Fitz-James Stuart, 18th Duchess of Alba – inherited a total of 9 ducal titles, 19 titles of marquise, 21 titles of count, one title of Viscountess and one title of Baroness (some of these titles have already been ceded to her heirs) . According to the Guinness Book of Records, she is today the person with the most noble titles in the world.