New embarrassing details have emerged of the controversial Botswana elephant hunting trip Spain’s King Juan Carlos took with mysterious Princess Corinna.
Twice-divorced Corinna zu Sayn Wittgenstein, 46, appeared on the cover of the June edition of Spain’s Vanity Fair magazine released today.
The article claimed Princess Corinna has been the King’s unofficial companion on numerous private trips abroad.
They included the safari trip to Botswana in April which caused outrage in Spain.
Princess Corinna, who was born in Germany and claims her title through her second husband, has reportedly fled Spain intense speculation over the nature of her role within the Spanish monarchy.
Her first husband, Philip J. Adkin, an American shipping magnate who confirmed he had also been a member of the hunting party in Botswana, was quoted in The Daily Telegraph as saying: “She has told me that the King is her friend and a great guy whom she admires.
“Nothing more, because if anything characterizes her, it is discretion and loyalty.”
The hunting trip became public knowledge after King Juan Carlos, 74, fractured his hip in a fall in camp and was rushed back to Madrid for surgery.
Reports of the King’s luxurious lifestyle shooting endangered animals while ordinary Spaniards suffered deep economic strife was met with public outcry and led to calls for his abdication.
The episode has been marked by an end to the taboo on publishing royal secrets in a nation that has traditionally afforded the Royal family the utmost privacy and respect.
The unclear nature of the role of Princess Corinna will cast yet more scrutiny on Royal matters.
King Juan Carlos and Princess Corinna reportedly first met when she was organizing shooting expeditions for Boss & Co, Britain’s oldest gunshop based in Mayfair where she worked until 2006, and were on the same safari together in Mozambique in 2004.
Several more hunting trips together followed over the years, as well as a trip to Saudi Arabia, and the pair have been photographed on the red carpet together several times.
Sources at the Royal Household insist she has no official role in relation to King Juan Carlos but Vanity Fair reported that friends talk of her being either his “financial adviser” and “organizing everything from A-Z” on behalf of the King on his trips abroad.
Philip J. Adkin admitted in the piece that his ex-wife had gone into hiding since her connection with King Juan Carlos became public knowledge.
She has instructed lawyers to take legal action after several European tabloids made claims about her private life.
The allegations are the latest development in what is turning out to be a difficult year for Spain’s Royal family.
King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia failed to mark their 50th wedding anniversary earlier this week fuelling speculation that their marriage was over.
The King’s son-in-law is accused of embezzling public funds and in February became the first Spanish royal in modern history to be questioned in court.
Yesterday it was revealed the Spanish government has insisted Queen Sofia pull out of a lunch in Windsor Castle because of the continuing row over Gibraltar.