Tag Archives: Barcelona

Is there a true Gypsy Queen?

The term Gypsy is no longer used by the aforesaid people who prefer to be known as Roma. More of a nickname, several countries claim their own ‘Queen’ .

On January 31, 1915, Kelly Mitchell, Queen of the Gypsy Nation, died at age 47 while giving birth to her 14th child. Although she died in Coatapa, Alabama, she is buried in Rose Hill Cemetery, Meridian, Mississippi, USA. Approximately 20,000 Romanies travelled to pay their last respects. The headstone is constantly swathed with beads and trinkets put there to beseech the Queen to provide answers to their problems. Her husband Emil Mitchell, King of the Gypsies, is also buried in the cemetery.

When Ruby Pearl Marshall died in 2016, hundreds of mourners travelled to Wales to pay their respects to the 78 year old who had 52 grandchildren and great-grandchildren. The funeral was held at St Tydfil’s Old Parish Church in Merthyr with burial at Glyntaff Cemetery in Pontypridd, Wales. The Romanis followed a century old tradition which allows each family member to choose a keepsake from the deceased’s belongings. The caravan with contents was then burned.

daily mail

Ellen McDonagh from Levenshulme, Manchester, England, survived the tragic loss of two husbands. She raised six kids on her own, and at the time of her passing in 2017 she had 40 grandchildren. She was known across England and Ireland as Queen of the Gypsies. Members of the traveller community in Ireland and the UK travelled to Manchester to pay their respects to Ellen.

Carmen Amaya who was born in 1918 in the slums of Barcelona, Spain became the greatest Flamenco dancer of her generation. She was also known as the Queen of the Gypsies. She died in 1963 of kidney failure and was originally buried in her hometown of Bagur. Her body was later transferred to the family tomb of her husband, Juan Antonio Aguero, in the cemetery of Ciriego, Santander, Spain. The grave is not marked with her name as the family wished to prevent it from becoming an attraction for gypsies.


A monument of Carmen posed in traditional Flamenco dress is located at the Jardins de Joan Brossa in Montjuïc, Barcelona.


Kiss of Death

This life size statuary known as the Kiss of Death sculpted in white marble was erected in 1930 and is located in Poblenou Cemetery, Barcelona, Spain.

The sculpture is attributed to Jaume Barba who has his signature on another statue in the cemetery: a full-sized angel placing a wreath on a cross. However, for unknown reasons the name of the sculptor is disputed, and an alternate sculptor, Joan Fontbernat, has been suggested.

The statuary is a memorial to textile manufacturer Llaudet Soler as inscribed on the sarcophagus although all online references state the name to be Josep Llaudet Soler. I found a notation (unverified) which infers that the statue was a memorial to his son who died in youth.

The memorial shows the robust figure of a naked young man on his knees in the act of dying. A winged skeleton (a dual symbol of mortality and resurrection) supports the body as it places a tender kiss on the left temple.

An inscription on the plinth is taken from a poem written by Jacint Verdaguer, one of Catalan’s greatest poets, translates as: His young heart is thus extinguished. The blood in his veins grows cold. And all strength has gone. Faith has been extolled by his fall into the arms of death. Amen

This slideshow requires JavaScript.