Former king Juan Carlos of Spain taken to court by ex-lover

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Juan Carlos I, who was the king of Spain from 1975 to 2014, is getting sued by his former mistress for spying on her. (PHOTO: Gallo Images / Getty Images)
Juan Carlos I, who was the king of Spain from 1975 to 2014, is getting sued by his former mistress for spying on her. (PHOTO: Gallo Images / Getty Images)

Spain’s former monarch is feeling the heat as a former mistress, Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein, has taken legal action against him, accusing him of spying on her.

Their affair was one of the things that led to Juan Carlos’ abdication in 2014, when he handed over the throne to his eldest son, Felipe (53), and now the Spanish royals must be dreading what new dirt will come to light as his disgruntled ex embarks on legal proceedings against him in the UK.

The German-born Danish businesswoman claims the king had spies watching her for years in London, where she lives. This entailed physical surveillance of her car and home, trespassing on her property and hacking into her telephones and computers.

corinna zu sayn-wittgenstein-sayn, affair
Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein is suing her former lover after he allegedly began spying on her. The two had an affair from 2004 to 2009. (PHOTO: Gallo Images / Getty Images)

Corinna says he’s been monitoring her every move since 2012 in his “unlawful covert and overt surveillance” and that he used Spanish law-enforcement officers to do it. She’s also accused him of threatening her.

The 57-year-old is asking the court to slap the former king with a restraining order as well as to punish him by making him pay millions in compensation for allegedly defaming her, which she says has made it difficult for her to run her consultancy business.

Juan (83), who’s been married to Sofía (82) for nearly 60 years, embarked on an affair with Corinna in 2004 after meeting the single mom of two at a hunting party.

“We always laughed a lot. We immediately clicked on many things, and we had many common interests – politics, history, fantastic food, wine,” Corinna revealed in an interview.

After months of chatting over the phone, the two began seeing each other. But in 2009 their affair was exposed when the king fell and injured his hip during a hunting trip to Botswana and needed to be flown home for medical treatment.

juan carlos, queen sofia
Juan with his wife, Queen Sofia. Juan is rumoured to have engaged in multiple affairs. (PHOTO: Getty Images / Gallo Images)

News of his extravagant adventure drew howls of outrage from the Spanish, who were then in the grips of an economic crisis.

By 2014 his position had become so untenable that he had no choice but to abdicate. But before he did so he made sure to transfer €65 million (then R715m) he allegedly received from Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah, who died in 2015, to his mistress in 2012.

This generous gift has subsequently raised questions, with some wondering if it wasn’t a bribe paid to enlist the Spanish king’s support in securing a lucrative high-speed rail contract.

On top of this, Swiss prosecutors have been probing Juan’s bank accounts to sniff out evidence of tax evasion.

In a bid to avoid jail time, Juan fled to Abu Dhabi last year. He currently lives in a luxury hotel owned by the emirate’s ruling family and his health is said to be frail.

Nevertheless Corinna is pushing ahead with the suit.

She told the BBC that after she ended the affair some time before his abdication he made desperate attempts to get her to come back to him.

“At some point he realised I wasn’t going to return, and he went completely ballistic.”

Things turned nasty when he asked for all his money back and Corinna refused to hand it over. She says since then he’s been watching her like a hawk.

And now she’s planning to go to court to stop him. Juan’s lawyers are doing everything they can to have the case thrown out on the grounds that as a former Spanish head of state, he shouldn’t be subject to British legal proceedings.

Juan must be hoping they succeed because if they don’t it will probably spell plenty more embarrassment for him and his family.




We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Show Comments ()