Juan Carlos de Borbón’s first adolescent love that ended in a breakup dies in Italy: the beautiful Countess Olghina Di Robilant, inspiration of Fellini, free and transgressive soul

On Sunday, November 28, the countess and writer Olghina Di Robilant died in Italy. He was 87 years old. In our country we did not know her so much for the quality of her journalistic and editorial work as for one of the many anecdotes that marked her life: she was the first love that King Juan Carlos has on record. When they met, he was 18, she was 22. It was an instant crush, love at first sight. Or maybe just a youthful passion that neither of us, nor the
King Juan Carlos of Bourbon (speaking of the Bourbons … do you know who he is
Luis Alfonso, the son of Carmen Martínez-Bordiú who wants to be King of France?) nor Duchess Olghina Di Robilant knew how to turn it off.

It was the year 1956 and the emeritus, was already a Don Juan, never better said. She corresponded with different ladies of the time, one of them had a chance of becoming queen:
María Gabriela de Saboya also had a relationship with ‘Juanito’, but it did not reach adults either. She, as her loved ones called her, had a soul too free to embark on the journey of becoming queen. Olghina, in any case, much more …

Olghina and the king met on a summer night: “He was very young and already had an athletic body and very skillful movements. Juanito brought his cheek to mine. It was burning. His lips stopped on my ear and I leaned back a little. ‘Pretty’, he whispered ”, says the Countess herself in her book ‘Sangre Azul’, (1991). That was the moment when the crush emerged. And for not: both were very young, free and although the future was synonymous with responsibility, they preferred to ignore it and embark on an intermittent relationship that would last several years.

«A crush arose between table companions. I fell in love like a schoolgirl. It was a happy, friendly, unpretentious, uncompromising relationship, so we were not faithful, “the Countess herself admitted in 2014 in a statement, about to turn 80 years old.

The Countess of Robilant /


The absence of fidelity … was the key to their love affair. María Gabriela is the irrefutable proof of this. Neither of them were queens, history is the proof. Olghina was not royal enough, neither did she pretend it and Ella was not a saint of Franco’s devotion. Olghina herself tells it in her book, «I did not know the King. I met a boy, whom our friends called Juanito. He was a joker, cheerful and youthful. His father, Don Juan de Borbón, and the then caudillo Franco had forbidden him to marry a girl who was not from the royal family. Fundamentally, he was united with the most beautiful woman in the European royal houses, María Gabriela de Saboya, but then he was also banned ”, he explains.

The Caudillo wanted as queen of Spain a more docile and simple woman, someone who would represent at face value the model of Spanish woman that Franco wanted for his country once he himself was absent. Then Queen Sofia entered the equation. Gossip says, especially the journalist Jaime Peñafiel, an expert in the royal house in his book ‘Anecdotes of Gold’ published in 2019 that hours before asking for the hand of Queen Sofía, the king was with the countess in a hotel .

In 2014, Telecinco aired a miniseries, ‘El Rey’, where Olghina made a stellar appearance. He did not say much, but he made it clear that there was a time when they were very much in love and threw some bombshells, “Juanito was a nice and close boy, a bit daring. And I am a rebel, so I liked people like him, who were out of the norm, “she said. And he also spoke at length about Don Juan Carlos’s father, with whom it was impossible to maintain a good relationship, “Juan Carlos’s father was terrible, although nice. I’ve had a fight with him once, a lot, actually. Besides, Don Juan was afraid of our crush, of the relationship between Juanito and me. He did not like it. I know that Juan Carlos and Don Juan fought because of me, “said Olghina in the miniseries.

The king’s march to Spain to do military service marked the beginning of the end of their relationship. Although they maintained contact by letter, the flame began to go out. Their last meeting was in a boarding house in Rome (it seems that Jaime Peñafiel was not lying …) before the king’s wedding with Doña Sofía, «He told me that he had bought him a ring with two heart-shaped rubies … With your money! And the thing is that he never had a penny ”, the countess also told in the miniseries.

From that moment they did not see each other again. The only information Olghina had about the king was from the media, “He has been unfaithful to his wife, from what I have read, poor thing. Personally, I don’t know anything, it could be gossip. Nor does it seem scandalous to me. His father was like that.

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Juan Carlos de Borbón’s first adolescent love that ended in a breakup dies in Italy: the beautiful Countess Olghina Di Robilant, inspiration of Fellini, free and transgressive soul