Princess Cristina of Spain has found herself embroiled in a case of royal political corruption centered around the embezzlement of $6.5 million. It’s an event that has tarnished the reputation of the Borbón monarchs, and it’s also one for which she will become the first of the elite family to face trial for on Monday.
While political corruption is nothing new in Spain, Princess Cristina’s tax evasion was not so easily covered up; nor did her family seem to have any desire to do so. Her brother, Felipe VI, stripped her and her husband, Iñaki Urdangarin, of their titles of Duke and Duchess of Palma. That dishonor was especially painful considering that Cristina’s father, King Juan Carlos, bestowed the classification on his daughter and Urdangarin when they were married in 1997.
It’s not the only way the princess has felt the blow of the scandal. Both Felipe VI and Juan Carlos ordered her to divorce her husband when allegations first began to surface about him embezzling cash through his non-profit Noós Foundation. A year later, Cristina was facing her own political corruption charges, reported the New York Times.
Within a very brief stretch of time, the princess fell hard in the eyes of the Spanish public. Cristina had been widely regarded for her work on the Spanish Olympic sailing team and for pursuing a degree from one of the country’s most highly-respected universities, later going to get her international relations Master’s at New York University. Her marriage was, of course, a national press event.
Now, not even her family is standing by the princess. The last time all of the royals appeared together was in 2011, when the sordid details around the case first began to emerge. Recently, reported Spanish paper El Español, Cristina remarked that it was “very difficult to be abandoned by your family.” In response, a comic Twitter account remarked, “It’s very difficult to be stolen from right in front of your f***ing face.”
Infanta Cristina: “Es muy duro que te abandone la familia” Los españoles: “Es muy duro que te roben en la puta cara.”
— Dios (@diostuitero) January 2, 2016
Of course, it’s perhaps understandable for the princess’ family to be so upset. Because of Cristina and her husband’s alleged thievery, public opinion of the monarchy dropped historic lows. In fact, the scandal is seen as one of the major reasons that King Juan Carlos abdicated the Spanish throne to his son Felipe VI. After the change of king and punitive action against the princess, those approval ratings floated to 61.5 percent, reported local English-language paper, The Local.
Because of that, the royal family has little motivation to welcome Cristina back into the fold if they want to retain popularity. Felipe is still so angry with his sister that she was not even invited to the ceremony where he officially became king. Local author of royal history, Ana Romero, told NDTV that the act of political corruption‘s repercussions have shaken the princess.
“It’s huge. Since 2011 her and her husband have (publicly) disappeared from the royal family, and their expulsion from paradise was perhaps all the more painful that it happened gradually… [the couple] have become… ‘the baddies in the film’, selfish and hedonistic.”
Princess Cristina currently lives in Switzerland counting down the days until the political corruption trial is held.
[Image via Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images]