Alfonso XIII's Anarchist Attack

May 31, 1906 was a special day. King Alfonso XIII and Victoria Eugenia of Bettenger married in the Church of the Jeronimos, right next to the Prado Museum. It was a sunny day and the streets were crowded with people to see the royal couple.

Alfonso XIII's anarchist attack
Church of San Jeronimo el Real where Alfonso XIII and Victoria Eugenia got married in 1906

As scheduled, after the ceremony the Royal Guard would escort the carriage of the Kings from the Church of the Jeronimos to the Royal Palace. But when the procession passed through Mayor Street (number 84) something terrible happened. From the third floor, a Catalan anarchist threw a bouquet of flowers which contained a bomb inside. In 1906 Madrid had a tram service and the bomb was diverted by the tram wires.

Unfortunately, the bomb fell into the public and the consequences were catastrophic: 25 people were killed instantly, another 4 died from injuries and more than 200 people wounded (many of them went blind). The bomb chosen by the anarchist had been a “Orsini Bomb” which did not need detonator. These kind of bombs explode on contact.

Attack against Alfonso XIII (illustration)

The chaos and confusion were tremendous, there were smoke, blood and debris everywhere. The Royal Guard accelerated their pace and escorted the carriage of the Kings until the Royal Palace (200 meters from the site of the attack).

The Kings did not suffer any injuries (the dress of the Queen was completely splattered with blood). As for the terrorist, he took adventage of the confusion, mixed with the crowd and managed to escape.

Anarchist Attack against Alfonso XIII
Real photo of the moment of the attack against the kings of Spain on Mayor Street, very close to the Royal Palace

The Terrorist

The author of the slaughter was Mateo Morral and belonged to a wealthy family. The father had a textile factory in Barcelona. Being young his parents sent him to study abroad (Paris, London and Leipzig) where Mateo Morral had his first contact with anarchism. When he returned to Barcelona left the family business and expanded its circle of anarchist friends.

Despite escape, Mateo Morral was arrested on June 2 in a village near Madrid. According to the official version, Mateo Morral stole a gun, killed the guard and committed suicide.

Click below and watch a real video of the exact moment when the bomb of Mateo Morral explode on Mayor Street. This incredible video was filmed by an ancient movie camera.

First Attempt in Paris

Mateo Morral was really obsessed with killing the King of Spain, Alfonso XIII, because he considered him as the root of all evil in Spain. His obsession was exaggerated to the point that exactly one year before (May 31, 1905) Mateo Morral tried to kill Alfonso XIII in Paris when King left the Opera. Fortunately, the bomb was too weak and did not cause major damage to the car of the King. The next morning all European newspapers opened with the assassination attempt on the King of Spain.

From Goat to Hero

Although it may seem hard to believe, Mateo Morral went from being a bloodthirsty terrorist to receive recognition from the Spanish government. During the Second Spanish Republic (1931-1939) the authorities changed the name of the street from Calle Mayor to Calle Mateo Morral in “honour” of the anarchist who tried to kill the King of Spain twice. After the Civil War (1939) Franco came to power and Mateo Morral Street was renamed Mayor Street.

Unveil the Madrid you never know with OgoTours. During our Free Tour we will visit the exact place from where Mateo Morral threw his bomb and the monument devoted to the victims of this despicable act.

BOOK NOW your place for our MADRID FREE TOUR and enjoy an incredible journey through the history of Madrid. Every day at 10:45 in Puerta del Sol (Green Umbrella). Booking is not mandatory but recommended as we have always small groups (20 people max).

About Javier

Hola! My name is Javier Redondo, tour guide in Madrid for more than 8 years.
As a good "Madrileño", I love football (I support Atlético de Madrid), eating tapas and walk the cobblestone streets of old Madrid 🙂

This Madrid blog is where I share tips on popular attractions, local food and off-beat spots.

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