US Ambassador & boyfriend spend NYE in Seville palace

James Costos and his partner, the famous designer Michael S. Smith, (both pictured, James on the left) spent New Years at the SevillePalacio de las Dueñas” Palace in Seville, as guests of the flamboyant aristocrat the Duchess of Alba.

Doña Cayetana herself spent the holidays with friends at another palace she maintains in the city of Seville. But her Palacio de las Dueñas palace is maintained by her as an exclusive retreat which she lends out to friends. Other visitors who have been lent the keys by Doña Cayetana in recent times have been Michael Douglas and John Galliano (not at the same time, I assume).

Doña Cayetana, Duchess of Alba, on one of her better days

The Palacio is sumptuous as only an ancient aristocratic family whose origins are lost in the mists of time can make it. It was built in the late 14th century in the Renaissance style with Gothic and Moorish influences, and is one of the great buildings of Spain. Although officially a national monument, it continues to be the official residence of the Duchess of Alba and her family seat.

The reception hall at the Palacio de las Dueñas, Seville, owned by the Duchess of Alba

Costos and Smith did the rounds of the upper class Andalusian circles, as they also stayed at Casa Pilatos, owned by the family of the late duquesa de Medinaceli.

The couple also visited Córdoba and Toledo on their week long getaway from official duties in Madrid.

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