The Russian Ambassador places a bouquet on the Baron of Budberg’s grave./ Picture: A.R.
Alberto Rubio. Madrid
The figure of Baron Theodore of Budberg, the last ambassador to Spain of the Tsarist Russia, was remembered again this week at the British Cemetery of Madrid. 99 years later, his gravestone has been restored, thanks to steps taken by the Orthodox Church and the Russian Embassy in Spain.
While the impressive funeral procession accompanying the mortal remains of the Baron of Budberg was moving along the Paseo de Recoletos, from the Russian Embassy in 34 Castellana, on 10 March 1916, it was pouring with rain. Nothing to do with the splendid sun accompanying, on Tuesday, 99 years later, a much more reduced cortège, led by the Russian Ambassador to Spain, Yuri P. Korchagin, and the Orthodox Reverend Andrey Kordochkin, Parish Priest of Saint Mary Magdalene.
Ambassador Korchagin recalled that Budberg served as a diplomat “in a Spain that acted as a connection for Russia with the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Germany in turbulent and painful times”. Father Kordochkin added that Budberg himself “had his personal drama, since, due to the war, he had to break his relationship with the Austro-Hungarian and German ambassadors, who were close friends of him”.
A year or so was left for the October revolution to take place and the Tsarist era to end. Although another ambassador was appointed, Budberg was actually the last one to represent the Tsar Alejandro in Spain. He died on 7 March 1916 due to a pneumonia that put an end to his life in five days.
Descendent of the Budberg of Boeninghausen (Westfalia), the diplomat, born in 1851, had been imperial counsellor and ambassador in Stockholm, as the professor Alfonso de Ceballos-Escalera points out in a documented article.
The honours granted to Budberg at his funeral (see the front page of the daily ABC of that day) were, as a Royal Decree published by the Gaceta de Madrid on 9 March pointed out, those of a field marshal dying while holding a post. His mourning was presided by H.R.M. the Infante Carlos, representing King Alfonso XIII, and was attended by all the Spanish civil and military authorities, as well as by the complete Diplomatic Corps.