King Alfonson XII of Spain died without a male heir—but there was hope: his wife was six months pregnant. And as great fortune would have it, the Queen gave birth to a healthy baby boy, who would be Alfonso XIII. At the turn of the century, Spain was at a crossroads. It could either regress, into a conservative Catholic monarchy, or become a more liberal constitutional government. But the King facing those challenges was entirely unequipped to rise to the occasion, and his cloistered and limited worldview would allow Spain to fall into chaos and then worse.
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