Heav’n has no Rage, like Love to Hatred turn’d, Nor Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.
So says The Mourning Bride (1697)!
By Jack Wright
It’s been more or less confirmed that King Juan Carlos, el Rey emeritus, father of the reigning monarch of Spain, Felipe VI, had been carrying on with Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein who is styled Princess. It seems one of the stipulations of her divorce from Prince Casimir zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn, twelve years her junior, was that she gets to keep the title.
Though Spain has had some vague idea about the affair, which has been getting occasional devious mention in the media, the “confirmation” came when – oh, cruel Fate! – Juan Carlos broke a hip at the elephant hunt in Botswana in April 2012 and had to be rushed back to Madrid for emergency operation. It came out that Corinna was with him in that hunt.
Cast of Characters
King Juan Carlos: married to Queen Sofia of Spain, born Princess of Greece and Denmark; abdicated in 2014 in favor of his son Felipe.
Corinna: high-flying “consultant”; born Corinna Larsen in West Germany on 28 January 1965; Danish nationality; resident of Monaco; said to have been designated by Monégasque Prince Albert II to represent the principality with the view to attracting business and conducting external relations for the sovereign microstate on the French Riviera; first married to English businessman Philip Adkins (1990-1995) with whom she has a daughter, Anastasia (b. 1992); married in 2000 to and divorced in 2005 from Casimir, a prince of the minor branch of the House of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg, one of the two major branches of the House of The Princes zu Sayn-Wittgenstein, the oldest formerly ruling families in Germany. Corinna had a son with Casimir in 2002, named Alexander.
Once the secret affair was out in the open, King Juan Carlos had to break off with the “princess”. Otherwise, the scandal would have shaken the Spanish monarchy to its very foundation. In fact, the scandal ultimately forced the king to abdicate.
Though it seems that that was the final break-up, there had been at least one earlier. Corinna said they split up in 2010 because she found out the monarch had been two-timing her not just with one woman but with three ! But they obviously patched up that quarrel.
A few days ago, six years after Botswana, an audio tape of her conversation with businessman and former police superintendent (excomisario) Jose Manuel Villarejo at her place in London in 2015 has been leaked to the press. On it Corinna reveals that King Juan Carlos has secret Swiss accounts and owns real estate properties abroad, notably Morocco, deeded to dummies. Corinna admits she’s one of those dummies.
Also present in that meeting between Villarejo and Zu Sayn-Wittgenstein was Juan Villalonga, former CEO of the Spanish telecommunication giant Telefonica.
After his abdication, King Juan Carlos lost his inviolability and could be taken to court. However, he keeps certain privileges as an aforado and could only be tried in the Supreme Court. No lower court trial for him.
Talk shows, as well as the man in the street, are having a field day speculating on whether the rey emeritus could be held accountable. If so, would it be for money laundering, tax evasion and/or taking a cut of public contracts where he acted as an intermediary behind the scenes?
Corinna doesn’t deny that the voice on the tape is hers, Instead, she claims she didn’t know she was being taped when she made all those revelations (reliable and accurate, vengeful fabrication, or something in-between?) about her affair with the king and his murky businesses. Why she made all those confessions isn’t known. Not yet anyway. What’s for sure is that her confessions will have already done irreparable damage to the 80-year old abdicant king.
Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein wants people to believe she’s always acted above reproach, this despite admitting, per the tape, to an illicit affair with a married man and agreeing to be his dummy.
The Spanish Royal Family are silent as a tomb on the matter. It’s all they could do really, though that very silence could be taken for an admission of guilt. Or perhaps it is a damage-control strategy, as many reckon. Anything they would say now could stoke the fire into deadly conflagration.
The monarchy is a crucial pillar of the Spanish state. But it’s much too afflicted with so many scandals.
Featured image (angry girl)/Smith 190, CC BY2.0
Vanity Fair cover, Fair Use
Juan Carlos dancing, PD
Elephant/Fernando Hidalgo Marchione, CC BY-SA2.0
DON JUAN CARLOS’ CALIFORNIA DREAM, https://www.guidepost.es/don-juan-carlos-california-dream/
KING JUAN CARLOS’ ABDICATION: WHAT THE INTERNATIONAL MEDIA ARE SAYING, https://www.guidepost.es/king-juan-carlos-abdication-what-the-international-media-are-saying/