“A Festival of Failure”: Spanish Press Weighs in on Demise of Royal Marriage(s)

 

On Wednesday, Lecturas magazine ran as its cover a photo of Infanta Cristina next to a recent picture of her husband Iñaki Urdangarin holding hands with another woman (later identified by Lecturas as Ainhoa Armentia) on the beach in Bidart, France. The headline blared: “EXCLUSIVE: WHILE INFANTA CRISTINA LIVES IN SWITZERLAND, IÑAKI WITH ANOTHER WOMAN.” The well-known journalist Pilar Eyre broke the story; Ms. Eyre has sometimes provided sensational scoops about the royal family. This news was swiftly echoed in the rest of the press. The Catalan digital newspaper El Nacional summarised their report with two poignant lines: “The marriages of the Bourbons are cool: only one seems to have resisted separations and extramarital affairs, that of King Felipe and [Queen] Letizia. The rest is a festival of failure: that of [King] Juan Carlos and [Queen] Sofía, that of [Infanta] Elena and Jaime de Marichalar and now that of [Infanta] Cristina and Iñaki Urdangarin.” It should be noted that Infanta Cristina and her husband have not formally separated.

Elena and Jaime, 1995.
Photo (c) Getty Images / Thierry Orban.

On 18 March 1995 at Seville, Infanta Elena of Spain, Duchess of Lugo, married don Jaime de Marichalar y Sáenz de Tejada. The couple had met in 1987 while she was studying in Paris. Infanta Elena and don Jaime have two children: don Froilán de Marichalar y Borbón (b.1998) and doña Victoria Federica de Marichalar y Borbón (b.2000). Infanta Elena and don Jaime separated in 2007; their marriage was dissolved by divorce in 2010.

Cristina and Iñaki on their wedding day, 1997.
Photo (c) Getty Images / Carsten Rehder / picture alliance.

On 4 October 1997 at Barcelona, Infanta Cristina of Spain, then Duchess of Palma de Mallorca, married don Iñaki Urdangarin Liebaert. The couple either met in 1992 or (as is the more common version) at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia. Infanta Cristina and Iñaki have four children: don Juan Urdangarin y Borbón (b.1999), don Pablo Urdangarin y Borbón (b.2000), don Miguel Urdangarin y Borbón (b.2002), and doña Irene Urdangarin y Borbón (b.2005). Iñaki became embroiled in the Nóos case, which began in 2010 and is still ongoing. As a result of his involvement in the scandal, Iñaki was sentenced to almost six years imprisonment in 2018. Since 2013, Infanta Cristina and her minor children have lived in Switzerland although the infanta often visits Spain to see her family.

Felipe and Letizia, 2004.
Photo (c) Getty Images / Ian Waldie.

On 22 May 2004 at Madrid, the then Prince of Asturias married Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano. The Prince and Princess of Asturias have two children: Infanta Leonor (b.2005) and Infanta Sofía (b.2007). In 2014, the Prince of Asturias succeeded his father King Juan Carlos I and became King Felipe VI of Spain. King Felipe and Queen Letizia will celebrate twenty years of marriage in 2024. 

 
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