The Infanta Cristina of Spain and her husband Iñaki Urdangarín, who is serving a sentence on day parole for corruption and was recently photographed with another woman, announced their separation on Monday, in a statement transmitted to the Spanish agency EFE.
“By mutual agreement, we have decided to interrupt our marital relationship”, indicate in this press release the sister of King Felipe VI and the former international handball player, her husband for more than 24 years, without however specifying if this means that they were going to divorce.
“The commitment to our children remains intact,” continues the couple, who have four children.
“As this is a private decision, we ask for the utmost respect those around us,” concludes the brief statement.
A magazine had published on Wednesday photos of Urdangarín walking hand in hand with a woman, later identified as Ainhoa Armentia, a colleague of the law firm where he works in Vitoria (north) thanks to the semi-freedom regime whose he benefits.
Asked Thursday about these photos, Urdangarín, 54, had mentioned “a difficulty” which was going to be managed by the family “in the greatest calm”.
Aged 56-year-old Infanta Cristina, who lives in Geneva, had not spoken until Monday's statement.
Cristina and Urdangarín were married in October 1997, a year after to be encountered at the Atlanta Olympics. The couple moved to Geneva in 2013, far from the paparazzi.
Iñaki Urdangarín, a former Olympic handball medalist with the Spanish team, has been serving a five-year and 10-month prison sentence since 2018 for embezzling millions of euros donated by public bodies to a foundation in nonprofit which he chaired.
The Infanta Cristina had been sent to court in the case for complicity in tax evasion, becoming the first member of the royal family to be brought to justice for such an offence. The king's sister, sixth in line to the Spanish throne, had been acquitted.
The Supreme Court had nevertheless found that she had a civil liability as the beneficiary of the funds obtained by her husband and had fined him 136,950 euros, which she had already paid.
Throughout the investigation, Cristina had denied having knowledge of her husband's illicit activities. From the start of the affair, at the end of 2011, both had been excluded from the official acts of the Royal House.
Upon ascending the throne in 2014, Felipe VI had promised to restore the prestige of the Crown, tainted by multiple corruption scandals involving her father Juan Carlos and which had forced him to abdicate.
In 2015, he notably withdrew the title of Duchess from the Infanta Cristina de Palma, which Juan Carlos had created in 1997 for his daughter before her marriage.
Felipe VI also has an older sister, Infanta Elena, 58 years old.