An interview with a former lover of King Juan Carlos has thrown new light on his abdication.  The first monarch in the period after Spain returned to democracy in 1975 stood down in favour of his son, now King Felipe, in June 2014.

Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein, a German-born Dutch entrepreneur, became a close friend of Juan Carlos between 2004 and 2009, and has been accused of receiving a gift of €65 million from him, alleged to have been part of a bribe he received from the Saudi royal family.  She claims that Juan Carlos was the victim of a coup d’etat led by his wife, Queen Sofia, who worked with other members of the royal family and the then President of Spain, Mariano Rajoy, to force him to abdicate.

In the interview with Paris Match magazine published on September 17, the 56-year-old aristocrat related remarks which Juan Carlos allegedly made to her in private.  “He was very explicit in confiding to me,” she is reported to have said.

She claims he told her, “I have two fronts in front of me. The first is made up of my wife and her lieutenants.  She is in a hurry to put her son (now King Felipe) on the throne, because she has much more influence over him than over me. The second is played by Mariano Rajoy who aims to castrate me and weaken the monarchy.”

Asked about Juan Carlos’ recent departure from Spain under a cloud, Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein said, “Sending the ex-king with his fragile health into exile and in the middle of the Covid period is irresponsible.”  And of the current financial allegations against him, she claimed that the revelations are “manipulated and used in a sensational way to create a gigantic controversy,” but, she added, “Everything is motivated by a political agenda.”