Herminia Elena Josefa Rodríguez-Borrell Feijoo was born in Camariñas, La Coruña, Galicia, Spain in 1897, in a family which got wealthy from sugar business in Cuba, with several properties in Galicia.
His parents Máximo and Maria Luisa decided that she should learn English and sent her to London accompanied by her aunt Lala. But there Herminia became fascinated by the high society life and enjoyed shopping, diners and parties. And it was there in 1918, she met a German multimillionaire Nubar Gulbenkian, son of Calouste Gulbenkian, a legendary businessman and philanthropist who had made his fortune in the oil business, and one of the richest men in the world at the time. The Gulbenkian family lived in London with properties in Paris and Côte d'Azur.
It was love at first sight. After 3 three years of dating, they married in 1922 London in a civil ceremony, in "Prince's Row Registry Office", with only Herminia's mather and her aunt present. It was followed with another ceremony according to German customs in a suite in Hotel Ritz in Picadilly, where Nubar lived at the time.
After their marriage, the couple lived the high life in London, driving around Europe in their Rolls-Royce and drinking Champagne in Buckinghame Palace with the royalty. But the idyllic life did not last long.
Sometimes after the couple moved from Ritz to a home in Park Lane, Nubar began to be unfaithful to Herminia, which she could not tolerate. Her early years in London had transformed her into one of those modern and daring women. In fact, she became the first Spanish woman ever to have a driving license. At the end of the 20s, Herminia asked for divorce and returned to La Coruña, thus becoming one of the few Spanish women who divorced from their husbands.
At just 30 years old, Herminia was famous, beautiful, and rich, with 300 dollars per month provided by her husband and all the jewelleries she took with her while leaving him. Although she had been away for many years, she was quickly integrated into the high society life of La Coruña and caused sensation with her beauty, elegance and her arrogance.
There she lived as she pleased. She worn trousers, rode bicycle and played tennis , She bought a motorcycle and owned two boats which were docked at the Real Club Náutico. She lived in palace in Sigrás, where she collected art works as as well local craftworks, such as Camariñas laces. Herminia lived in luxury and parties.
Thus passed the years until her health worsened as she got older. In February 1971, she was discovered sleeping in her by now ruined palace, dirty, malnourished and delirious. She was taken to the hospital but there was nothing to be done for her.
Herminia Borrell died on 18 February 1971, and was buried in the Municipal Cemetery of San Amaro of Coruña. The Times published an obituary of her calling her "Spanish Beauty."
In his memoirs Portrait in Oil published in 1965, her ex-husband Nubar Gulbenkian thus described her:
"Whenever we were in a restaurant, our table would become the center of attention. Herminia attracted attention because of her beauty typically Spanish, because of her black hair parted in the middle and gathered at the nape. It looked extremely attractive."