It was a year ago that Spanish King Juan Carlos apologised after it emerged he had been on a hunting trip in Africa while his country was in the midst of economic crisis. But the apologies were not enough to restore public opinion, as the scandal over accusations of embezzlement by the King’s son-in-law grew.
The King’s headache started years earlier in Palma de Majorca – the royal family’s traditional holiday destination. It was on the Balearic island that Iñaki Urdangarin, the husband of the king’s youngest daughter, is alleged to have signed lucrative deals through a non-profit organisation he headed. Some of the money is believed to have ended up in companies controlled by Urdangarin in offshore bank accounts. To make matters worse, his wife Princess Cristina is now also formally named as a suspect in the investigation. It’s the first time since democracy was restored in Spain that a direct member of King Carlos’ family faces preliminary charges of any kind.
As if that scandal wasn’t enough, the King has been further tarnished by another affair: Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein’s name first became public knowledge after she appeared as the mystery woman who accompanied him to Botswana on his elephant hunt. Her help did not stop at joining him on safari. She also tried, at the King’s beckoning, to find his embattled son-in-law a job. Moreover, she claims to have done secret, unpaid work for the Spanish government.
Facing its worst credibility crisis in decades, should Spain’s royal family envisage change? Some believe the King should abdicate in favour of his son, Crown Prince Felipe, whose popularity ratings remain high.
Reporter takes a look at the Spanish royal family in crisis in this edition of Reporter.