A Femme Fatale: Belina de Valdeterrazo, Duchess of Montpensier

Born on 22 April 1895 at Madrid, Doña María Isabel “Belina” Josefina Teodora Magdalena González de Olañeta y Ibarreta was the only child of Don Ulpiano González de Olañeta y González de Ocampo (1847-1928), II Marqués de Valdeterrazo, and Doña Isabel Eugenia de Ibarretea y Uhagon (1856-1930), who wed in 1891. In Spain, and particularly Madrid, Isabel was known as “Belina Valdeterrazo.”

Antonio González y González.
Belina’s paternal grandparents were Don Antonio González y González, I Marqués de Valdeterrazo, and Doña María Josefa de Olañeta y Ocampo. Her maternal grandparents were Don Adolfo de Ibarretea and Doña Isabel de Uhagon y Vedia. 
The wedding of Ferdinand and Belina, 1921.
The Duke and Duchess of Montpensier in Paris, 1922.
Photo (c) Maurice-Louis Branger / Roger-Viollet / Granger.

On 20 August 1921 at Randan, Doña Isabel “Belina” González de Olañeta y Ibarreta, Vizcondesa de los Antrines, married Prince Ferdinand d’Orléans, Duke of Montpensier. The Duke of Montpensier was the youngest child of Prince Philippe d’Orléans, Count of Paris, and Infanta Maria Isabel of Spain. Their wedding was heavily attended by Ferdinand’s family, particularly his sisters: Queen Marie Amélie of Portugal; Princess Hélène, Duchess of Aosta; and Princess Isabelle, Duchess of Guise, with her husband (and first cousin) Prince Jean, Duke of Guise, and their children Prince Henri and the Princesses Isabelle, Françoise, and Anne. Belina’s parents were also present for the wedding of their only child. Shortly after their marriage, Belina apparently isolated Ferdinand from his family.

Prince Ferdinand.

Slightly after more than two years of marriage, the Duchess of Montpensier was left a widow. Prince Ferdinand, Duke of Montpensier, died at the age of thirty-nine at the Château de Randan on 30 January 1924. The cause of his passing was a drug overdose. The duke had long struggled with substance abuse. It has been alleged by some that Belina knew of his drug issue and that she weaponised this to her advantage. The Duchess of Montpensier is believed, by some family members of the duke, to have withheld drugs from her husband until Ferdinand made a will leaving his fortune to her. Ferdinand’s previous heir had been his brother, the Duke d’Orléans and Head of the Royal House of France at the time. Whether or not this is true, upon the Duke of Montpensier’s death, it was discovered that he had left all of his worldly possessions, including the Château de Randan, to Belina. Prince Ferdinand was buried at Dreux.

The ruins of Randan.
On 25 July 1925, the Château de Randan caught fire and the treasures it contained inside were consumed by the flames. Madame Adélaïde, a sister of King Louis-Philippe, had overseen the restoration of the ancient castle. The Dowager Duchess of Montpensier had only recently decided to reopen the château after having left it following the death of her husband. Belina had been in residence at Randan for only two days before a fire broke out at 5am in the Chinese room of the château. The duchess, along with a friend, were able to easily leave Randan. Belina even directed firefighters once they arrived on the scene; it took them nearly fifteen hours to put out the blaze. 
José María de Huarte.

On 12 October 1948 at Vitoria, the Dowager Duchess of Montpensier secretly married José María de Huarte y Jáuregui (1898-1969). In 1949, the duchess changed her will and left half of the inheritance she had received from the Duke of Montpensier to her second husband, Huarte, and the other half to one Socorro Uhagon y Mazas; three executors were named: José María de Huarte y Jáuregui, his brother Angel de Huarte y Jáuregui and the Marqués de Goicorrotea.

Belina in 1952, Madrid.

Doña Isabel González de Olañeta y Ibarreta, III Marquésa de Valdeterrazo, died of a heart attack on 11 July 1958 at her home in Madrid. She was sixty-three years-old. Prince Michael of Greece recalls being with his grandmother the Duchess of Guise (who had been Belina’s sister-in-law) when the duchess received news of Belina’s death. The Duchess of Guise quipped: “Well, Bellina has died due to her heart. I did not know she had one.” 

To read Prince Michael of Greece’s recollections, please check out his post: Tante Bellina
  • Leave a Comment