Spain 'asks former king and cousin of Queen not to attend her funeral'

Spain ‘asks former king and cousin of Queen Elizabeth II not to attend her funeral’ amid regal row

  • As a cousin of Queen Elizabeth II, the Royal Family issued Carlos an invitation 
  • But the government privately contacted Juan Carlos I to ask him not to attend
  • Officials fear he may overshadow his son and current king Felipe VI if he appears
  • Carlos is awaiting trial in the UK for a harassment case after he abdicated in 2014

The Spanish government has allegedly asked the late Queen’s cousin and former king of Spain not to attend Her Majesty’s state funeral amid a row threatening to drive a wedge between government and monarchy.

The Spanish government has asked King Emeritus Juan Carlos I, the late Queen’s cousin and former king of Spain, not to attend Her Majesty’s state funeral amid a regal row

Queen Elizabeth II is pictured with her cousin Juan Carlos I, then king. Both are related to Queen Victoria and were said to be close growing up

Spanish King Felipe VI is pictured chairing the opening ceremony of the Judicial Year 2022. The Spanish government has made clear the current king is its preferred choice to represent the state at Queen Elizabeth’s funeral 

Pallbearers carry the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II as the hearse arrives at St. Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh, September 12

The funeral of Queen Elizabeth II will be held on September 19 at Westminster Abbey at 11am, it has been announced — with Spanish media driving a wave of speculation over whether Juan Carlos, known as the King Emeritus (Rey Emérito), will attend.

Juan Carlos I, who abdicated the Spanish throne in 2014, is awaiting trial in the UK after the country’s High Court ruled he does not have the right to Sovereign Immunity in a case involving the alleged harassment of his ex-lover.

He is facing claims he sent Spanish agents to Britain to harass and threaten his former lover and German businesswoman Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein, 58, who alleges that his servants broke into her Knightsbridge flat to spy on her.

The King allegedly demanded the return of gifts he had given her when their tryst ended, souring the relationship. 

Prosecutors in Switzerland and Spain shelved cases last year after investigated him for suspected money laundering and tax evasion over a separate $100million payment from the Saudi Arabian government.

But the harassment case remains open in the UK — with the royal attempting to appeal the ruling denying him immunity from prosecution because of his regal status. 

Carlos had a series of affairs during his time on the Spanish thrones, including in the back of a van parked behind the Oriente Palace, according to a new HBO docu-series.

It’s not the only scandal the former monarch is embroiled in. Spanish investigators are also looking into a missing €600,000 (£520,000) allegedly taken by a close Mexican friend of Juan Carlos I.

Queen Elizabeth II is pictured with King Juan Carlos at the Oriente Palace

Queen Elizabeth ll greets King Juan Carlos of Spain with a kiss during a State Visit on April 22, 1986 in London

The Earl of Wessex, the Duke of York, King Charles III, the Queen Consort, the Princess Royal and Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence attend a Service of Prayer and Reflection for the Life of Queen Elizabeth II at St Giles’ Cathedral, Edinburgh

Despite once counting himself among the world’s most popular monarchs, polling showed that approximately two-thirds of Spain wanted the king to abdicate when he stepped down — underlining how quickly public opinion can shift. 

Juan Carlos returned to Spain for a brief visit in 2022 but has spent the past two years living in exile in Abu Dhabi.

All the trips of Don Juan Carlos makes abroad have seen been carefully observed and by the Spanish government, according to El Mundo, with the government keenly aware of the history the monarchy has played in shaping the state.

‘Currently the head of state is Felipe VI and that, like his father, he also represents the existing family ties between the two royal houses,’ said foreign minister José Manuel Albares in an interview over the weekend, pushing back on the idea that there was any issue with the previous monarch coming to London.

Court papers accuse Juan Carlos of using spies to place Ms zu Sayn-Wittgenstein under surveillance, to hack her phones and internet, mount a campaign of smears and issue death threats. (She is pictured in Monaco in 2014, six months after Juan Carlos abdicated)

Spanish President Pedro Sanchez is pictured speaking in a press conference. His government has pushed back on recent reports that it does not wish for Juan Carlos I to travel to the UK for the Queen’s state funeral

Albares hopes the Spanish Government will continue to have ‘the closest possible relationship’ with the UK after the death of the Queen, calling it ‘a very important country for Europe’ after the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union, he said.

But the Spanish foreign minister questioned the UK and Spain’s arrangement over Gibraltar however, a UK territory annexed from Spain in 1704, claiming that the ‘relationship model’ between the two countries ‘has no place’ there after Brexit.

Queen Elizabeth died at the age of 96 on Thursday, Buckingham Palace announced, marking the end of a reign that saw close relations between the Windsors and the Bourbons. 

Felipe IV, Queen Letizia, as well as Queen Sofía — the former Queen of Spain and wife of Juan Carlos — have also received their corresponding invitations from Windsor.

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