José Joaquín Álvarez de Toledo, 18th Duke of Medina Sidonia

Don José Joaquín Álvarez de Toledo y Silva, 18th Duke of Medina Sidonia, 14th Marquis of Villafranca del Bierzo, 14th Marquis of los Vélez, 12th Duke of Fernandina, 13th Marquis of Molina and 22nd Count of Niebla, Grandee of Spain, Knight of the Real Maestranza de Caballería de Sevilla and of the Order of Alcántara (Madrid, Spain; 14 August 1826 – 15 February 1900) was a Spanish aristocrat and politician who served as Superior Chief of the Palace from 1885 until his death.

The duke of Medina Sidonia


The Duke was the elder son of Pedro de Alcántara Álvarez de Toledo, 13th Marquis of Villafranca and María del Pilar Joaquina de Silva, fifth daughter of José Gabriel de Silva, 10th Marquis of Santa Cruz and Joaquina Téllez-Girón y Pimentel, daughter of Pedro Téllez-Girón, 9th Duke of Osuna and María Josefa Pimentel, 14th Countess Duchess of Benavente. He was educated at the Theresian Military Academy, in Austro-Hungary, where his father was exiled for being a carlist sympathiser.


In 1847, Queen Isabella II lifted the seizure of the properties of the Medina Sidonias in Spain, and the family was able to return. The young Pepe, by then Marquis of los Vélez, started his political career, taking a seat in 1852 at the Parliament of the Two Sicilies, as Prince of Paternò. He succeeded in the dukedom in 1862, and following the Restoration of the monarchy in 1874, became senator in his own right in 1875 and for the province of Cádiz in 1876.

From 1885, he served as Superior Chief of Palace with King Alfonso XIII, and was part of the extraordinary embassy, headed by the Duke of Montpensier, sent to Russia in 1883 to represent Spain at the coronation of Tsar Alexander III. He received numerous honours and decorations, including the Golden Fleece, the Collar of the Order of Charles III and the Grand Cross of the Order of the Immaculate Conception of Vila Viçosa.


Medina Sidonia married his first cousin Rosalía Caro y Álvarez de Toledo, daughter of Pedro Caro, 4th Marquis of la Romana and granddaughter of Pedro Caro, 3rd Marquis of la Romana, in Erpel, Austro-Hungary, the 26 September 1846. They had four children.


  1. Doña María del Socorro Álvarez de Toledo (1847–1929), married Don José Maria Ortuño de Ezpeleta, 4th Duke of Castroterreño and had issue.
  2. Don Alonso Álvarez de Toledo, 15th Marquis of los Vélez (1850–1897), married Doña María Trinidad Caballero, daughter of Andrés Caballero, 1st Marquis of Somosancho. Died before succeeding his father and without issue.
  3. Doña Inés Álvarez de Toledo, 16th Marquise of Cazaza en África (1857–1937), married Don Fernando Ramírez de Haro, 13th Count of Bornos, and had issue.
  4. Don José Joaquín Álvarez de Toledo, 19th Duke of Medina Sidonia, who succeeded in the titles of his father.



  • Personal dossier of The Duke of Medina Sidonia. Spanish Senate
  • Mateos Sáinz de Medrano, Ricardo, Nobleza Obliga, La Esfera de los Libros, Madrid, 2006, ISBN 978-84-9734-467-8
Spanish nobility
Preceded by
Pedro de Alcántara Álvarez de Toledo
Marquis of los Vélez
Succeeded by
Alonso Álvarez de Toledo
Duke of Medina Sidonia
10 January 1868 – 15 February 1900
Succeeded by
José Joaquín Álvarez de Toledo
Marquis of Villafranca del Bierzo
10 January 1868 – 15 February 1900
Duke of Fernandina
10 January 1868 – 15 February 1900
Title next held by
Pilar González de Gregorio