Demonstrating his most supportive side once again, Cayetano Martinez de Irujo is one of the attendees at the annual charity dinner of the Recal Foundation – a private non-profit institution that deals with all kinds of addiction problems – chaired by Archduke Maximilian of Austria and of which the son of the famous Duchess of Alba is a patron.
A very special event, taking place again after several years of absence due to the pandemic, which the rider attended, accompanied by his partner Barbara Mirjan, and in which he was once again honest about his old addictions – which he successfully overcame thanks to his persistence – except that spoke very affectingly of the death of Queen Elizabeth of England, who, he admits, reminds him a lot of his mother.
A CHANCE: What advice would you give to all the people who are unfortunately suffering from this addiction problem because you can get away.
CAETANO: Of course you can go out. advice? I think today there is more than enough information, it is not like in our time of Movida Madrileña, which was a social problem like who smokes or who drinks whiskey. Those are other times. I am surprised today that there are so many people involved in the consumption of all these substances and alcohol, from one moment, with all the information that is available. I’m surprised because I lived it, I don’t need to be told about it.
CH: What did you think?
CAETANO: Mine was a time of many nights and Movida Madrileña, which was Disneyland. I think it was the city. I was lucky enough to be an athlete and have the characteristics that I personally possess and over time I realized that this is not the way to go and that it ruins your life.
CH: When is the moment when one realizes that this is not the way? or that you should ask for help?
CAETANO: When you feel like you are driving the car on an icy road, you go uphill, you accelerate more and more, the wheels are already at full throttle and there comes a point when even at full throttle the car stops and starts to fall backwards.
CH: Were you afraid to reach the end of the tunnel?
CAETANO: No, thank God, I got out very well in time. I had a relatively short experience.
CH: In whom did he take refuge?
CAETANO: In yourself and in asking for help, always. You need help to realize that substance and alcohol use because alcohol is a very big evil to society that people don’t recognize. What happens is that in life you have to face yourself.
CH: You did very well, you.
CAETANO: Few people will do it like me, but in all fields. In the emotional problem, the childhood trauma, everything. I have had no qualms about going wherever I go to confront myself. We all have problems, everyone, everyone needs to look in the mirror and face their own.
CH: On the occasion of the death of Queen Elizabeth II, he shared many anecdotes.
CAETANO: On the day I died, when I was in Seville, I usually finish at three in the afternoon, I start very early in the field, then I ride my horses a little in the afternoon. The other day, the truth is, I told the waiter to roll them up because I wanted to, because they were already reporting that things were very bad and it looked like he was going to die, but they couldn’t announce it until six in the afternoon. I stayed to watch the programs and I can honestly tell you that I cried.
CH: He got excited.
CAETANO: I was touched because she reminds me a lot of my mother.
CH: Did Doña Cayetana tell you any anecdote?
CAETANO: No, more than together, they were two very similar women, each in her place and each on her level.
CH: What would you highlight about Elizabeth II’s reign?
CAETANO: I think it is an example for humanity, not for the world, for humanity. This woman has not had a setback in her life, she has suffered political problems, wars, personal events, family events, like all families. Everything, in a stoic, calm way, in an intelligent way. You can’t ask for more. This woman is an example of humanity.
CH: Any adjective that defines your mother and Queen Elizabeth?
CAETANO: They were born in the same year. My mother would have died at the same age if she had lived a little longer. The lifestyle, the way they lead their personal life, because if you noticed when her husband died, she fell apart because she had the support of her husband. My mother always believed very much in her husbands, in marriage, and in having someone by her side, because if not, she said, she would be alone. Queen Elizabeth’s big problem is that suddenly, at the age of ninety, she said “look, all I wear, all I stand for, and I’m left alone.” I told my mom “you’re not alone mom, I’m with you”, “no, you have your own life”. As soon as they are left without a man, they are left alone.
CH: And this struggle to reconcile the family union above all.
CAETANO: Because they believed so much in it, see the marriages so strong and so consistent. My mother, if she wanted anything in her life, it was her marriages. As soon as her marriage failed, her husband died, she immediately looked for another, because this was the way to not be alone.
CH: What do you think of King Carlos III?
CAETANO: I tell you honestly that years ago I did not believe in him, I was one of those who thought that he would not reign. It was a personal opinion. After the whole Lady Dee thing and all. I think he knew how to learn from his mother, he knew how to find his place. He is aware that he is inheriting an unrivaled, unrivaled legacy. I think he will be in place. I have to admit that when I met him at Buckingham Palace, my opinion of him changed radically, for the better.
CH: Speaking of royal houses. Queen Letizia is now 50 years old. What do you think of our queen?
CAETANO: I think he does a great consort job on the king’s side. I think Felipe VI, I’ve said it many times, was the most prepared successor along with Guillermo, now it will be Carlos, they were the two most prepared in the world so far. He shows it, I think Felipe VI does it in an impeccable way. She accompanies him well, learns, improves. Perhaps in the personal relationship that has improved, it needs to improve a little more.
CH: What do you think the honorary king will attend the funeral of Elizabeth II? He has received an invitation from Buckingham Palace to attend because of his cousin.
CAETANO: That seems perfect to me. When I hear about this respect for certain pundits on TV, I am stunned. There is one thing you cannot fight in life and that is ignorance. You have to appreciate King Juan Carlos, you have to know everything he has done for Spain, but you really have to appreciate him as a king. He is a man who was dedicated to Spain, for Spain, throughout his life. Yes, he ended up making some pretty big mistakes: the Urdangarin theme, the female theme that ended him with that character, the hideous Corinna I met in Monaco, very young. Well, everyone makes mistakes.
CH: When you use that adjective about Corinna Larsen, it’s because when you met her, you didn’t leave with a good taste in your mouth, did you?
CAETANO: We were a very small group chosen by Ira von Furstenberg to try to protect Estefania from complete savagery, which of course we failed. So, from the day she arrived, she was fixated on Alberto, paying no attention to anyone. It surprised me because there were five of us who went: the Austrians, the Germans, her and two Spaniards. Her fixation was Alberto and I kept repeating “this girl shows ways”.