Infanta Cristina


by Jessie Chiang


Infanta Cristina was charged with tax fraud at court on Monday, the 11th of January. If found guilty, she may face up to eight years in jail. Incidentally, infanta (masc. infante) is the rank and title given to the daughters (and sons) of the King of Spain with the exception of the heir to the throne who is styled prince, as in Prince of Asturias. Infanta Cristina is the daughter of King Juan Carlos I of Spain, father of the reigning king, Felipe VI.


Iñaki Urdangarin and Cristina de Borbon in an official act in Catalonia, before the Infanta was barred from any of these events. (Photo: OEA-CAS,, CC-BY-SA)

For his part, Cristina’s husband Inaki Urdangarin is being accused of embezzlement and money laundering for which he faces 19 years and six months in prison if found guilty.

The charges come after an investigation found that their co-owned company Aizoon received more than €1m from Mr Urdangarin’s non-profit Noos Institute sports foundation, of which some were used for personal expenses.

The Noos company itself allegedly overcharged the regional governments of the Balearic Islands and Valencia in 2004 to 2006 when the foundation organized a series of sporting events.

Investigators claim that Noos received more than €6m of public money and as many as 15 others are also accused of being involved in the scheme.

The couple have both denied charges, with the Infanta claiming no knowledge of any wrongdoing.

Her fate and that of her husband’s are in the hands of a panel of three judges.


The Royal family’s reaction

Queen Sofia, with her daughter in law, then Princess of Asturias Letizia, in 2009.

Queen Sofia, right, with her daughter in law, then Princess of Asturias Letizia, in 2009. (Photo: Fermin R.F, CC BY 2.0)

Relations between Cristina and King Felipe VI — possibly King Juan Carlos too — have been strained ever since the scandal broke in late 2011.

King Juan Carlos, who would later abdicate in favor of his son Felipe, excluded the couple from official royal events. However, looking back this is slightly ironic since Juan Carlos himself faced scrutiny by the country for his expensiveelephant hunting trip to Botswana just a few months later in 2012 when the country was mired in unrelenting economic crisis.

Indeed many claim it was one of the reasons for his abdication not long after.

Felipe VI, who used to be exceptionally close to Cristina, stripped his sister of the title of Duchess of Palma de Mallorca in 2014.

On the other hand, Queen Sofia, Cristina’s mother and wife of King Juan Carlos, has never made secret of her (moral) support for Cristina albeit with the discretion that she has always been known for. The same goes for the Infanta Elena, Cristina’s older sister who was always there to help.

The Spanish society is divided between those who support the amiable infanta and those who think she’s done wrong and must therefore face the consequences.


Featured image by David Fernandez  (, CC BY-SA