Sometimes when a body is laid to rest after the person dies – it doesn’t really get any rest. That was the case with Eva Peron, the former first lady of Argentina, and the wife of former Argentinian President Juan Peron.
Lyrics from the Andrew Lloyd Webber rock opera Evita mention this:
Money was raised to build a tomb…a monument for Evita…only the pedestal was completed, and Evita’s body disappeared…for seventeen years.
Evita had the bad luck of dying in 1952 – shortly before a military coup which forced Juan Peron into exile. In 1957, her body was buried under a false name in Milan, Italy. In 1971, her body was disinterred and flown to Spain, where Juan Peron was living in exile with his wife, Isabel. This is where it gets really weird…she treated Evita’s body almost as though it were a doll, according to this article.
Isabel took care of (cleaning Evita’s body) very carefully with a cotton cloth and water. She combed the hair, and cleaned it bit by bit, and then blow-dried it. It took several days.
Juan Peron became president of Argentina for a second time in 1973, with his wife Isabel serving as vice president (a title Eva Peron had always wanted for herself but never officially achieved). Isabel Peron would take over briefly as president when Juan Peron died suddenly, and she oversaw the repatriation of Evita’s body from Madrid to Argentina. Art restorer Domingo Tellechea restored Evita’s body for a second time so it could be put on display, and this made him a target of anti-Peronists – and would force him into exile.
Eventually, Evita would go to her final resting place in a bunker, five meters underground.