The 17th Duke of Huescar, and his wife Sofia Palazuelo, recently baptised their second child Sofia Fernanda Dolores Cayetana Teresa Angela de la Cruz Micaela del Santisimo Sacramento del Perpetuo Socorro de la Santisima Trinidad y de Todos Los Santos. — Sky News, 26 October, 2023
It was late evening in Seville. Teresa Hermoso, the Hotel Don Xabi Alonso’s Chief Executive, was still working. Sipping an espresso, she checked through security arrangements for the big wedding the hotel was hosting the following week. Every aristocrat in Seville and the surrounding region would be in attendance. Nothing could go wrong.
She jumped in surprise as her door was flung open and Miguel Torres strode in. “Get yourself a new Events Director, Senora Hermoso! I resign! This wedding and these people with their silly names are killing me!” He slumped into a chair. He looked like he was about to cry.
Teresa really hoped he didn’t. Three times in one week was three times too many, in her book. Also, she was never quite sure how to handle crying male employees. What was the right thing to do — give them a hug or tell them to grow a set of cojones? She settled for what she always did. She pushed a box of tissues towards him. “What’s happened now, Miguel?”
Miguel drew a deep breath. “She wants name cards on all the tables, Senora. I’ve told her it can’t be done!”
Teresa spoke firmly. “You know our policy, Miguel. What the guests want, the hotel provides. You can’t say no.”
“It’s not me saying no, Senora. It’s Hugo at the printers. He says they do not have enough cardboard for so many guests with names that long. Actually, he said the whole of Spain doesn’t have enough for such a thing.”
Teresa frowned. “Try another print company!”
Miguel snorted. “You think I haven’t? No one wants the job at the rates we’re paying! Hugo says if you have to write – he took a card from his hip pocket and studied it — Dolores Fernanda Marguerita Cayetana Micaela Daniela de la Cruz Teresa del Santisimo Sacramento del Perpetuo Socorro de la Santisima Trinidad y de Todos Los Santos, it’s not a name card anymore. He says you’re talking billboard rates!”
Teresa could feel her temper rising. Everything was a drama with the Events Director. “It’s very simple, Miguel. Restrict each guest to two names per card. Problem solved!”
Miguel threw his head back and laughed. “Problem solved! You are very funny, Senora. I’ll let you explain that restriction to him.”
“To the groom. His snootiness the Duke of Terranova.” Miguel turned over the card he was still holding. “Or José Manuel de Zuleta y Alejandro Francisco Chico Juan Miguel Osorio y Bertrán de Lis Carlos López de Carrizosa y Mitjans, if you prefer. He says shortening their names is insulting and will result in a cancellation!”
Teresa’s face turned pale. This wedding was the hotel’s biggest earner in its history.
“Oh, my mother!”
Miguel smiled. “And the best man says they’ve already scouted replacement venues.” He took a second card from his blazer pocket. “That’s Luis Martínez de Irujo y Hohenlohe-Langenburg Alfonso de Hoyos y Fernández de Córdoba Alfonso Martel y Fonseca, if you want to phone him.”
Teresa thought quickly. “We could offer to announce the names of the guests as they arrive. Instead of the cards, I mean.”
Miguel snorted again. “They want the cards and the name check. Which is another problem, Senora. We rehearsed the announcements yesterday. Today, the Maître d’ phoned in sick.”
“What’s the matter with him?”
Miguel shrugged. “Reading all those names has given him eyestrain and muscle tension dysphonia, apparently.” He noticed Teresa’s blank expression. “That’s a sore throat, Senora. He’s off until after the wedding.”
Teresa glared at Miguel. She sensed that he was enjoying this. “Is there anything else I need to know?”
“Since you ask, we don’t have a wedding photographer. The family wants the photos in all the papers, but Juanita says she can’t do that. She says captioning the pictures with those names would take more time than she can spare.”
Teresa slapped the desk. “This is ridiculous! People around here need to get a backbone!”
Miguel shifted in his seat. It sounded to him like he’d just been insulted. “There’s nothing wrong with my backbone, Senora Hermoso! I’m done talking to Duke-Look-at-the Size-of My-Name! Why can’t they be like ordinary people?” He pulled an envelope from his pocket and placed it on the desk. “My letter of resignation.”
Teresa opened a desk drawer and pulled out a buff-coloured file. “I will hold your letter on file, Miguel, but I hope you reconsider. The hotel needs you right now.”
Miguel waved a hand. “Thank you, Senora, but my mind is made up. Duke Snooty and his bride can get married without me. From now on, I work only for simple people with unpretentious names.” He rose to leave.
Teresa was staring at a document in the opened file. “What’s your full name, Miguel?”
Miguel turned on his way to the door. “Ah. I see you’re looking at my — ”
Teresa read from the file. “Miguel Zubizarreta Koeman Ferrer Nando Guardiola Sacristan Carlos Bakero Laudrup Stoichkov Salinas Torres.” She looked up at Miguel, eyebrows raised.
“It’s the Barcelona football team that won the European Cup two weeks before I was born. My dad was a big fan. I'd be grateful if you wouldn't say — ”
Teresa took the envelope she’d just placed in the file and tore it in two. “It will be our little secret, Miguel, but I expect to see you at your post tomorrow morning as usual. Start by checking billboard rates, then ring a few wedding photographers.”
Miguel nodded as he backed out the door. “Of course, Senora.”
Teresa smiled. “Oh, and Miguel, how are you at announcing names?”