King Felipe VI of Spain has stripped sister Princess Cristina of her title as Duchess of Palma ahead of her tax fraud trial.
Infanta Cristina, who is to go on trial charged with tax evasion, was granted the Duchess of Palma de Mallorca title in 1997 when she married Inaki Urdangarin, a former Olympic handball player who is also accused of tax evasion.
Princess Cristina had asked King Felipe to remove her title, her lawyer said.
However, the royal palace said the king made the decision before seeing her request. Princess Cristina denies the tax fraud charges.
In the year since King Felipe, 47, succeeded his father, King Juan Carlos, to the throne, he has excluded Princess Cristina de Borbon and her husband, Inaki Urdangarin, who faces a wider array of corruption charges in the case, from the royal family’s official functions.
Prosecutors in Palma de Mallorca have long been investigating the business dealings of Inaki Urdangarin.
Inaki Urdangarin stands accused with 15 others of embezzling 5.6 million euros ($6 million) of public money from the Noos Institute – a charitable sports foundation he ran with a business partner. Princess Cristina is accused of involvement in the alleged scam.
It is the first time in modern Spain’s history that a member of the royal family has faced court cross-examination in a major corruption scandal.
Princess Cristina, 50, is the youngest daughter of former King Juan Carlos, who abdicated last year.
Spain’s Supreme Court will examine one of two paternity suits against former King Juan Carlos, it was reported this week.
On January 14, the court announced that it will hear the case of Belgian housewife Ingrid Jeanne Sartiau, born in 1966, who claims that King Juan Carlos is her father.
It is the first lawsuit to be brought against Juan Carlos, 77, who lost his total immunity from prosecution when he abdicated in favor of his son Felipe in 2014.
A spokesman for the royal palace declined to comment, saying only that it respected the judiciary’s independence.
The court dismissed a second paternity suit lodged by Spanish waiter Alberto Solá Jiménez, 58, who claims to be King Juan Carlos’s son. A court official told AP that Alberto Solá Jimenez’s claim lacked legal basis.
Alberto Solá Jimenez has claimed that his mother, the daughter of a well-known Barcelona banker, may have had an affair with King Juan Carlos before he married Queen Sofia.
Ingrid Jeanne Sartiau and Alberto Sola Jimenez joined forces in 2012 and underwent DNA tests that showed there was a 91% chance that they had a parent in common.
Their bid to make King Juan Carlos take a paternity test at the time failed due to his protection from prosecution as a serving monarch.
The reign of King Juan Carlos was marred in later years by a series of scandals, including an extravagant elephant-hunting trip to Botswana during the economic recession.
Juan Carlos’ youngest daughter, Princess Cristina, is due to stand trial on charges of tax fraud following a long-running corruption scandal.
Infanta Cristina and her husband Inaki Urdangarin, who is accused of embezzling public funds, both deny any wrongdoing.
King Felipe VI has been trying to clean up the image of the Royal institution and restore its waning popularity.
Felipe VI has been proclaimed king of Spain after the abdication of his father, King Juan Carlos, in a ceremony in parliament.
Earlier, King Felipe VI received the royal sash from his father, Juan Carlos, at the Zarzuela Palace near Madrid.
He acceded to the throne at the stroke of midnight after Juan Carlos formally abdicated on Wednesday.
Correspondents say the ceremonies have been kept low key, at a time when many in Spain are suffering economic hardship.
The ceremony takes the form of a proclamation rather than a coronation. It is the first royal transition in Spain since democracy was restored in the 1970s.
Felipe VI has been proclaimed king of Spain after the abdication of his father, King Juan Carlos
King Felipe VI, 46, swore an oath promising to uphold the constitution.
Congress President Jesus Posada then proclaimed him king, declaring: “Long live Spain! Long live the king!”
In a speech to parliament, King Felipe thanked his parents and said he had “great hope” for the future of Spain.
“You will find in me a loyal head of state who is ready listen and understand, warn and advise as well as to defend the public interest at all times,” he said.
“The monarch wants to be close to citizens… ensuring it can preserve its prestige and dignity.”
“Now more than ever, citizens of Spain are rightly demanding fundamental ethical principles should govern our public life. The king should not only be a reference but who serves all citizens of Spain.”
No foreign leaders or royal families have been invited to the event.
King Felipe and his wife Letizia will later be driven through Madrid’s streets before appearing on the front balcony of the Royal Palace.
Correspondents say the new king faces a series of tough challenges if he is to restore the reputation of the monarchy.
Although King Juan Carlos won plaudits for his role in restoring democracy, his image suffered when he went on a luxurious African elephant-hunting safari in the midst of a recession.
His reputation suffered further damage because of tax fraud allegations made against his daughter, Infanta Cristina, who is reported not to have been invited to the succession party.
At the same time many Spaniards are demanding a referendum on whether to have a monarchy at all.
A demonstration is scheduled to take place in central Madrid on Thursday, the same day as the enthronement, despite a ban imposed by authorities.
King Juan Carlos of Spain signed the bill of his abdication in favor of his son, Crown Prince Felipe.
King Juan Carlos, 76, signed the bill at a ceremony in the Royal Palace in Madrid, which was attended by only 160 guests.
At midnight local time, Crown Prince Felipe, 46, will become king although the event will not be marked in public until Thursday morning.
The succession was endorsed by both of Spain’s main political parties.
Before the signing, King Juan Carlos sat with Queen Sofia to his right and Crown Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia to his left as the content of the law was read out.
King Juan Carlos of Spain signed the bill of his abdication in favor of his son, Crown Prince Felipe
After Juan Carlos had signed the document that will end his rule, PM Mariano Rajoy also signed the law. Moments later, the assembled guests applauded, the prince’s two daughters joined the royal group and the national anthem was played.
Prince Felipe will head to the lower house of the Spanish parliament on Thursday for the first royal transition the country has seen since democracy was restored after the death of General Francisco Franco in 1975.
The ceremony at 10:30 local time will take the form of a proclamation rather than a coronation, in part because of the economic hardship that many Spaniards have experienced in recent years.
Juan Carlos, who has been king for 39 years, formally brought his reign to an end in the Hall of Columns at the 18th Century royal palace, the same room in which Gen. Francisco Franco’s body lay in state in November 1975.
Father and son both wore suits which bore the insignia of the order of the golden fleece, Spanish media reported.
King Juan Carlos announced his decision to abdicate on June 2, saying that a “new generation must be at the forefront… younger people with new energies”.
Although he was for many years a popular monarch, King Juan Carlos reputation has taken a knock from a corruption investigation into the business dealings his daughter’s husband and an lavish elephant hunting trip he took to Botswana in April 2012 in the midst of Spain’s financial crisis,
As Juan Carlos was Spain’s first ruling monarch for 44 years, a new law of abdication had to be passed by both houses of parliament under the country’s 1978 constitution.
Former Spanish Prime Minister Adolfo Suarez, has died at 81.
Adolfo Suarez guided Spain through the turbulent years following the death of fascist dictator Francisco Franco.
The former prime minister was taken to hospital on Monday suffering from a respiratory infection.
King Juan Carlos turned to Adolfo Suarez upon General Francisco Franco’s death in 1975 to try to unite Spain’s disparate political factions.
Adolfo Suarez served as prime minister until 1981 and became one of Spain’s most respected politicians
Adolfo Suarez served as prime minister until 1981 and became one of the country’s most respected politicians.
He had been suffering from Alzheimer’s disease for about a decade, and died on Sunday afternoon at Madrid’s Centro Clinic hospital.
King Juan Carlos has paid tribute, calling Adolfo Suarez an exceptional colleague and a true friend.
In a televised message, King Juan Carlos said Adolfo Suarez had been “guided at every turn by his loyalty to the crown and all that it represents, the defense of democracy, the rule of law, unity and the diversity of Spain”.
Adolfo Suarez’s son, Adolfo Suarez Illana, praised both his father’s and the king’s role in the post-Franco period.
Princess Cristina of Spain has been summoned to appear in court over allegations that her husband Inaki Urdangarin misused millions of euros of public money.
This is the first court summons for a direct descendant of the Spanish king. Princess Cristina is King Juan Carlos’s youngest daughter.
Inaki Urdangarin, who is suspected of having massively overcharged local authorities for organizing sporting events, denies wrongdoing and has not been charged.
Princess Cristina of Spain has been summoned to appear in court over allegations that her husband Inaki Urdangarin misused millions of euros of public money
It is alleged that some of the money ended up in companies controlled by Inaki Urdangarin – who is the Duke of Palma and a former Olympic handball player – in offshore bank accounts.
The events allegedly happened between 2004 and 2006, when Inaki Urdangarin stepped down as head of the non-profit NOOS Institute.
The duke and his former business partner Diego Torres are suspected of misusing millions of euros in public funds that were given to the institute – a charitable foundation.
Diego Torres, who was questioned by a judge in February, has also denied any wrongdoing.
Inaki Urdangarin has sought to distance King Juan Carlos from the scandal, pointing out in February that the royal house “had no opinion, did not advise and did not authorize” any of his activities at the institute.
“When the accusations arose, the palace recommended I stop any activity not considered appropriate to my institutional status, which I did,” he is reported to have said.
Princess Cristina has been asked to appear in court in Palma de Mallorca, in the Balearic Islands, on April 27.
Emails have come to light suggesting that Infanta Cristina knew about her husband’s financial affairs, El Pais newspaper reported.
Anti-corruption campaigners have urged the judge to formally name Princess Cristina as a suspect, alleging that she may also have been involved.
Emails published by Spanish newspapers in February also appear to show that King Juan Carlos took a close interest in Inaki Uradangarin’s business affairs.
Support for the royal family has diminished in recent years, amid criticism that is out of touch with ordinary Spaniards as they struggle with a severe economic crisis.
Inaki Urdangarin was suspended from official royal engagements in December.
“The royal household does not comment in any way on judicial decisions,” a spokesman for the Spanish royal family told the AFP news agency on Wednesday.
Who is Infanta Cristina, Duchess of Palma de Mallorca?
The younger daughter of King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofía of Spain
Seventh in the line of succession to the Spanish throne
Fluent in Spanish, Catalan, English, French and Greek
Carries out cultural, academic and welfare activities in Spain and abroad
Honorary president of the Spanish Committee of Unesco
Appointed goodwill ambassador to the UN World Assembly on Ageing in October 2001
President of the International Foundation for Disabled Sailing
King Juan Carlos of Spain has given a rare television interview on the eve of his 75th birthday.
In the interview, King Juan Carlos expressed his “hurt” at the number of young Spaniards forced to emigrate by economic difficulties.
The interview comes after a difficult year for the Spanish royal family.
King Juan Carlos has had to apologize for going elephant hunting in Botswana at the height of the financial crisis, while his son-in-law has been at the centre of a corruption investigation.
“One of the things that is most concerning and is in the mind of many Spaniards is the lack of jobs that leads millions of families to be unable to live with dignity and forces young people to leave Spain to look for work,” he said, adding that the situation “pained him”.
“It hurts me a lot,” he told Spanish national television station TVE.
The interview was a pitch to the Spanish people at a time when the popularity of the royal family is in decline.
King Juan Carlos of Spain has given a rare television interview on the eve of his 75th birthday
The mere fact that the King gave an interview shows that there is some concern in royal circles about the future of Spain’s royal family.
Republicanism is still a potent force in Spain, less than 40 years after the end of the dictatorship of Francisco Franco.
In the interview the king reminded his audience how he had smoothed the transition to democracy and how far, during his 37-year rule, the country had come.
“I would like to be remembered as the king who has united Spaniards, that with him democracy and the monarchy have been recovered,” he said, adding that “liberty” was a word for which he hoped he would be remembered.
There were no questions in the interview about the corruption scandal in which his son-in-law, a former handball international, now the Duke Of Palma, was mired. He has been accused of misusing funds donated to a foundation he administered, allegations he denies.
Nor was the King asked about the public apology he made after criticism of his trip to Africa while his country’s economic crisis was at its height.
A leading Spanish newspaper, El Pais, wrote in an editorial on Thursday that “the royal palace has launched in recent months a studious marketing operation to improve the image of the king”.
Just two weeks ago, King Juan Carlos had appealed to Spaniards to have confidence in themselves and their country in his annual Christmas speech.
“We cannot ignore that there is pessimism, and that its effects are felt in the social climate we are living in,” he said, after a year of mass street demonstrations and two general strikes.
Of all the measures to combat the crisis, he said “the main stimulus that will get us out of this crisis is called confidence”.
King Juan Carlos I of Spain, who is still recovering from his fall in Botswana and who has been using a crutch, took another tumble yesterday when he was inspecting the troops during a visit to the Estado Mayor de la Defence.
King Juan Carlos tripped on a step and fell to the floor hitting his nose and chin hard. His injuries did not stop him continuing with his visit and he presided over the meeting of the military chiefs.
King Juan Carlos took another tumble yesterday when he was inspecting the troops during a visit to the Estado Mayor de la Defence
Yesterday evening at 17:00, King Juan Carlos was due to meet the Italian Prime Minister, Mario Monti.
The King has had several falls, and has passed through surgery nine times since the 80’s.
Spanish affiliate of the conservation group WWF has removed King Juan Carlos as its honorary president for going on an elephant hunting trip in Botswana.
The WWF’s Spanish chapter voted overwhelmingly to abolish the post, a statement said, adding that the safari did not sit well with WWF goals.
King Juan Carlos was widely criticized after news of the trip emerged in April, in the middle of a severe economic crisis.
Spain’s royal family has faced a series of embarrassments this year.
King Juan Carlos apologized to the Spanish people for the hunting trip, which only came to light when he was flown home from Africa after breaking a hip.
Spanish affiliate of the conservation group WWF has removed King Juan Carlos as its honorary president for going on an elephant hunting trip in Botswana
An online petition calling for his resignation from the WWF post accumulated almost 85,000 signatures by the time he made his public apology.
The controversy prompted Spanish newspapers to publish a photo of the king on a previous safari, in which he is seen standing with a gun beside a dead elephant.
“Although this type of hunting is legal and regulated, many members consider it to be incompatible with the position of honorary patron of an international organization that aims to protect the environment,” the WWF statement said on Saturday.
The vote to abolish the position of honorary president was carried by a 94% majority, it said.
The king is generally popular in Spain, but the royal family has been beset by a series of embarrassing news stories this year.
King Juan Carlos’ son-in-law, Inaki Urdangarin, has been questioned in connection with a corruption scandal involving claims that he used public funds to organize sports events.
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.”
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
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.
Queen Sofia of Spain has cancelled her visit to the UK for Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee because of disputes over Gibraltar.
A Spanish government statement said it was “hardly appropriate” for Queen Sofia, 73, to attend a lunch on Friday.
The UK and Spain have been in dispute over fishing rights off Gibraltar, a UK territory which Spain also claims.
Spain has also protested over a visit to Gibraltar by Queen Elizabeth’s son Prince Edward and his wife Sophie.
Prince Edward and the Countess of Wessex are to visit Gibraltar on 11-13 June as part of the celebrations to mark the 60th anniversary of the Queen’s reign.
Queen Sofia of Spain has cancelled her visit to the UK for Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee because of disputes over Gibraltar
Spain continues to claim sovereignty over Gibraltar, which has been ruled by Britain since 1713 under the terms of the Treaty of Utrecht.
Queen Sofia’s husband, King Juan Carlos, had already declined his invitation to the lunch at Windsor Castle on Friday.
He is recovering from surgery last month after he fell and broke his hip while hunting elephants in Botswana.
In 1981, the Spanish royal couple declined an invitation to Prince Charles’ wedding to Diana, Princess of Wales because they planned to visit Gibraltar as part of their honeymoon.
And a visit by Princess Anne to Gibraltar in 2009 sparked an official complaint from the Spanish government.
An additional cause of unhappiness for the Spanish royal household is the fact that the British regimental band of Gibraltar will be performing at the Diamond Jubilee, reports the Spanish news agency Efe.
A spokesman for the UK Foreign Office told the AFP news agency: “The visit was a private commitment and we don’t comment on private visits.”