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King Felipe of Spain strips sister Infanta Cristina of her title

12 June 2015
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Spain's King Felipe VI has issued a decree stripping his younger sister Infanta Cristina, currently facing charges of tax evasion, of her title as Duchess of Palma. The Palace announced that the decree to revoke her right to use the title, signed by the King and Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, came into effect at midnight on June 11.

Cristina's lawyer stressed that his client is "in complete agreement" with her brother's decision, and that she communicated her desire to give her title voluntarily "days ago."

In December, a judge ruled that Cristina could be tried on two counts of being an accomplice to tax fraud. She is the first member of the Spanish royals to be tried in open court and could face up to six years in prison.

King Felipe of Spain with his sister Infanta Cristina Photo: Getty Images

Infanta Cristina stands accused of taking part in tax evasion in relation to business dealings by her husband, the former Olympic handball player Iñaki Urdangarin. He is accused of exploiting his royal connections to win contracts and embezzle millions in public funds along with a former business partner.The 49-year-old royal, who is the youngest daughter of former king Juan Carlos, is expected to sit in the dock with 16 other suspects over allegations relating to business dealings in 2007 and 2008. Both she and Iñaki deny any wrongdoing; at a previous hearing Cristina answered, "I don't know" to many of the questions or said that she trusted her husband to handle their financial affairs.

Infanta Cristina, seen arriving at a Spanish courthouse last summer, is facing trial for tax fraud Photo: Getty Images

Infanta Cristina is sixth-in-line to the throne. Her 1997 wedding in Barcelona to Spanish sports star Iñaki was a fairytale occasion, with the Infanta given away by her father, the then monarch King Juan Carlos. After the wedding, they were given the titles of Duke and Duchess of Palma de Mallorca. They went on to have four children together and lived an idyllic lifestyle as member of Spanish high society.Their multi-million dollar mansion has since been impounded by the courts, and Cristina was notably absent from the ceremonies to mark her brother Felipe's ascension to the Spanish throne in June 2014.

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