After Dinner On Silver Spirit, An Urge To Consult Wikipedia

Wikipedia dinner
Guess who's coming to dinner at The Grill on Silver Spirit? That's me on the far left. On my left, Infanta Margarita, 2nd Duchess of Hernani, sister of King Juan Carlos of Spain; beside her is Fernando de Oliviera (Silver Spirit's Senior Cruise Director); and on my right, Maria, the daughter of Infanta Margarita. The two other women are good friends of the family. The gentleman at 1 o'clock (with glasses around his neck) is the husband of Infanta Margarita, and beside him Vitor Canilhas, who not only provided the photograph but also is Fernando's cousin.

It’s not often that you dine at a table where your first instinct after dessert is to log on to the internet and consult Wikipedia. But, on a world cruise on a ship like Silver Spirit, you can certainly bet that you’re in the company of successful and privileged people and that if you’re lucky, as I was one evening, you may be invited to dinner with them.

Invited to dine at The Grill, one Silver Spirit’s outdoor dining venues, I sat at a table of eight, flanked on one side by – take a deep breath and recite after me – the Infanta Margarita of Spain, Duchess of Soria, 2nd Duchess of Hernani, Grandee of Spain (Doña Margarita María de la Victoria Esperanza Jacoba Felicidad Perpetua y Todos los Santos (et omnes Sancti) de Borbón y Borbón-Dos Sicilias) — and on the other side by María Sofia Emilia Carmen Zurita y de Borbón.

That’s their full names according to Wikipedia, but thankfully, I was allowed to call them Margaret and Maria.

I would not immediately have known that Margaret, the younger sister to Spain’s currently reigning King Juan Carlos, had been blind since birth had I not spent the evening with Margaret and her family and friends.

Kind Silver Spirit Senior Cruise Director Fernando de Oliveira, a friend of the family, helped Margaret avoid the touching the hot stones on which we were cooking our steaks and seafood. I later learned that the charming and witty 72-year-old matriarch speaks no fewer than half a dozen languages and plays the piano.

The younger Maria told me the next day that she and her family enjoyed cruising on Silversea, where they could be themselves and out of the limelight.

A lovely evening spent with royalty on Silver Spirit.


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