Those who come from the Cid Square to the Los Remedios Bridge along the Avenida de María Luisa will find, in the Roundabout of the Volunteer Sailors, a small building in the shape of a castle, with rounded turrets, topped with tiny battlements.
It is built with two-colored bricks that form stripes in hues of albero and reddish, so typical of our city.
This pavilion was dedicated until recently by the Municipal Office of Tourism, being currently vacant, because the municipal Consistory eliminated this function and offered it in competition, which has been deserted due to lack of offers.
However, we are going to tell you the romantic legend that accompanies it (and here we have to talk about legend and not about real events).
In 1850 they had arrived in Seville to settle down to live in our city, the Dukes-Princes de Montpensier, Mr Antonio de Orleans and Mrs. María Luisa de Borbón. They acquired for their residence what had been the building of the Nautical School of Saint Telmo, which was in a state of neglect after the decline of the extension of the empire.
Purchased the palace, the dukes of Montpensier embellished and enriched it, adding to the facade that gives towards the Factory of Tobacco (today University), a row of twelve statues, placed on the balustrade of his terrace, that were made by the most famous sculptor of the city at that time, Antonio Susillo. Standing facing this side you will see, from left to right, the following Illustrious Characters of Seville: Fra Bartolomé de las Casas, Afán de Ribera, Murillo, Arias Montano, Daoiz, Herrera, Ortiz de Zúñiga, Lope de Rueda, Miguel Mañara, Velázquez, Ponce de León and Martínez Montañés (and not Montañez, as he wrongly says on the pedestal).
The palace of Saint Telmo was completed by the dukes with the enormous garden of eighteen hectares, which was later bequeathed to the city to form the María Luisa Park. It was surrounded by a high wall, almost a wall, in one of whose corners, at the height of the current roundabout of Volunteer Sailors, was the pavilion that we visited today.
On one side of this wall, close to the corner of the main façade and looking towards the pasture of Tablada, there was a gate because the cars that supplied the inhabitants of the palace entered. By that same door, also, the duke and his companions went hunting, being, as well as natural exit for the pier of the Guadalquivir, in the dock that was in what was then called Paseo de la Bella Flor (of the beautiful flower), current Paseo de las Delicias
Because that door was so important, a pavilion was built next to it that served as the Guard Corps, at the time when Queen Elizabeth II was residing in Seville, sister of the Duchess, or her mother, the old Mrs Maria Cristina, who she had been queen regent. When there was no military guard, the pavilion was used for the ranger's stay.
The Dukes of Montpensier had a son whom they called Felipe, who died at a young age, and a daughter, Merceditas, who at the age of fifteen was raised in the palace and gardens of San Telmo. However, Merceditas was delicate and very pale, like a porcelain figurine. The palace doctor, Dr. Azopardo, worried enormously every time the child caught a cold.
The Duke of Montpensier had high political aspirations and was a stubborn conspirator, so when the situation of the country began to endanger the throne of Elizabeth the 2th, he did the impossible to take ownership of the situation and be appointed king. However, a misfortune took place that made this aspiration impossible. Mr Antonio de Orleans, Duke of Montpensier, the most logical candidate for the throne of Spain, failed his aspirations because of a challenge he had with his cousin, Enrique de Borbón, Duke of Seville, on account of some writings that he had published in against his relative.
The duel would take place in the neighbourhood of La Fortuna, Leganés area. The rules they had agreed established that they would fire alternately until the first blood appeared. After two shots in which both contenders failed, the third shot was fatal, since the one of Montpensier reached on the forehead the Duke of Seville, killing him on the spot. As captain general of the Spanish army that was at that time, he suffered a council of war in which he considered that the death of the Duke of Seville had been the result of an accident, being condemned the Duke of Montpensier to a month of arrest.
This event incapacitated Mr Antonio de Orleans to be king of Spain, because having killed his cousin in mourning, he had been excommunicated, and the Pope could not recognize as a Catholic king a person in that situation. So the generals of the military triumvirate that temporarily ruled the country, after the dethronement of Elizabeth II, Generals Prim and Serrano and Admiral Topete, could not offer the crown to the Duke of Montpensier, and had to find a new king for Spain, outside our borders, in the person of Amadeo of Saboy. He did not accept this decision of Orleans, refusing to swear obedience to the new king, Amadeo of Savoy, which led to his expulsion from the army.
The Duke of Montpensier, was not overwhelmed by discouragement, but in his hall of the Palace of Saint Telmo, the Court Girl as he was known throughout Spain, said these words with a prophetic accent.
- I will not be king, but in any case, my daughter will be queen.
And from that same day, Mr Antonio began to conspire to obtain the resignation to the throne to Amadeo the 1th of Saboy, which had to abdicate just two years after the beginning of his reign, after forming six successive government cabinets. The straw that broke the camel's back was the assassination of General Prim. Recent studies by Mr Antonio Pedrol Rius have shown that it was the Duke of Montpensier who financed (as he did with the La Gloriosa revolution), according to General Serrano, the Republican José Paúl y Angulo and nine others, the murder of Prim, a staunch enemy of the Duke. Then Mr Antonio encouraged General Martinez Campos to restore the Bourbon dynasty, putting on the throne the young Mr Alfonso the 12th. And after that step, Mrs Maria Luisa would see to it that the young king took Merceditas de Montpensier as his wife.
Everything went as the dukes had prepared it. Alfonso the 12th was king, he came to Seville in the spring, and the perfume of the carnations, the murmur of the river, the joyful excursion mornings, the emotional processions of Holy Week, with the smell of incense and lilies, all conjured up under the crystal clear sky of Seville, so that the young Alfonso the 12th fell in love with his cousin, and decided to marry her.
During his stays in Seville, Alfonso the 12th lived in the Alcázar, a royal residence. In the morning, the days that were not scheduled to go to Saint Telmo, he stayed in his office in the Alcázar, receiving official commissions or studying state business with his ministers. But invariably at a quarter to twelve he interrupted his work, because it was time for his riding exercise. He rode a horse, and left by the shutter of the Alcázar, which overlooked the Huerta del Retiro and the Prado de San Sebastián. But instead of walking through the terrain that his riding instructor had pointed out to him, the young king would go around the walls of Saint Telmo and go to the pavilion, where Merceditas used to be sewing. The king spent barely four or five minutes with his cousin, sitting in the sewing room, under the always suspicious and authoritative look of the old nanny, who coughed impertinently, if the king dared to " have his way" by taking one of the white hands of his cousin.
Immediately Alfonso had to ride again on horseback and return to the Alcázar because the quarter hour of riding was over and at twelve he had already had an official hearing in the Hall of Ambassadors. Merceditas, excited and in love, she sewed in that little pavilion de ranger much of her own trousseau as any marriageable girl of her time.
And finally they got married. But the happiness of the honeymoon was short, because Merceditas, shortly after arriving in Madrid, began to cough and cough. The doctors were alarmed, and to remove it from the cold of the old Palacio de Oriente, they sent her to recover in Seville. Here it was a season, trying that the sun of Andalusia tempered the cold of the death that little by little was getting it in the bones.
Merceditas left the palace on sunny mornings, leaning on her nanny's arm, and went to the sewing box, where she tried to distract herself by sewing. But in vain, because his heart was filled with sadness, thinking that he would soon leave his beloved Alfonso alone. When, desperate, Alfonso the 12th sees that his wife does not improve in Seville, he takes her to Sanlúcar de Barrameda, but what the Sevillian sun had not achieved also does not get the sea breeze. Merceditas, paler than ever, huddled in a fur blanket, shivering, returns to Madrid, where she has already set her date with death.
The last place in Seville that she wanted to see, on the way to Madrid, was her ranger's cottage, the corner where she had felt more intimately as a child, where she had dreamed and where she had loved. That pavilion of the gardens, where Saint Telmo ends and María Luisa Park begins, which since then is called "El Costurero de la Reina".
Fuente: Blog "Leyendas de Sevilla"