MADRID (Reuters) – Spanish King Felipe VI’s sister Princess Cristina and her husband Inaki Urdangarin, who was jailed in 2018 for tax fraud and embezzlement, have separated after he was caught with another woman by a gossip magazine.
“By mutual agreement, we have decided to cease our marital relationship. Our commitment to our children remains intact. Given that this is a private decision, we ask for the utmost respect from all those around us,” the two said on Monday in a statement sent to Spanish state-owned newswire EFE.
Last week, gossip magazine Lecturas published pictures of Urdangarin, who was released on parole and lives in the Basque city of Vitoria, walking hand-in-hand with another woman on a beach in the south of France.
“These things happen,” Urdangarin, told reporters in Spain on Thursday when asked about the photos with another woman.
Princess Cristina, 56, and Urdangarin, a 54-year-old former professional handball player, have been married for 24 years and have four children.
In one of a series of scandals that rocked the Spanish royal family, Urdangarin was found guilty in 2017 of using royal connections to overcharge regional governments through public contracts to stage sports and tourism events.
Princess Cristina was acquitted in the case, while he was handed a prison sentence of five years and 10 months.
The Casa Real royal household, of which Cristina, who lives in Geneva, is no longer part, declined to comment on the separation.
As part of efforts to modernise the monarchy and distance it from the scandals, King Felipe removed his elder sisters, Elena and Cristina, from royal duties after his father Juan Carlos abdicated in 2014.
Juan Carlos, who retains the title of King Emeritus, left Spain in August 2020 to relieve the pressure on his son as allegations of corruption were being investigated by the Spanish and Swiss authorities. The Swiss investigation was shelved at the end of 2021.
(Reporting by Emma Pinedo, editing by Inti Landauro, editing by Mark Heinrich)