Should Spain’s former king be granted immunity after using sky agency to intimidate former lover?

The former Spanish king Juan Carlos is seeking immunity through court after harassment claims on former lover Corinna Zu Sayn-Wittgenstein. Juan Carlos is said to have used Spain’s spy agency to threaten and intimidate the Danish businesswoman and her children.

The skeleton document says that after the affair ended the former king’s friend, Gen Sanz Roldán, then head of Spain’s national intelligence agency, began to harass Sayn-Wittgenstein and her children. When claiming damages Sayn-Wittgenstein cited the emotional and mental turmoil she has suffered.

The first instance of harassment was in 2012 when Sayn-Wittgenstein was in London and two years before Juan Carlos abdicated the throne. Both her apartment in Monaco and villa in Switzerland were been broken into.

After the break- in’s Sayn-Wittgenstein discovered a book about the death of Diana, Princess of Wales had been left on her coffee table, she believes intentionally. Private papers had also been ‘disturbed; during the events.

Sayn-Wittgenstein’s lawyers believe that the harassment continued after the abdication, with evidence pointing to a surveillance operation at her home in Shropshire, a hole being drilled in her bedroom wall in 2017, and CCTV cameras being damaged by gunfire in 2020. Both incidents were reported to the police at the time.

The former King rejects the allegations made against him and said that there was no wrongdoing by the Spanish state. His lawyer argues that sovereign immunity should apply due to Juan Carlos remaining part of the royal household and an important figure in Spain.

He points out that the only way Spain’s intelligence agency could act on Juan Carlos’ behalf was because he was or had been king, therefore acknowledging the sovereign immunity the former king should have and stating that his actions were ‘pubic acts because of who he is’.

The debate is ongoing as Sayn-Wittgenstein’s lawyers claim that sovereign immunity should not apply as the majority of the harassment happened after the abdication and as James Lewis, QC, said: “A former head of state has no immunity.”

The court hears that the former king is a crucial part of the constitutional fabric of Spain and remains so even after his abdication. It is said that he is not just the personal embodiment of democracy returning to Spain but an unbroken connection to the past.

The hearing continues.

Sammy Wilson

Sammy Wilson is a writer and journalist based in the UK. She graduated from university of De Montfort University. She is a freelance writer working with a range of clients writing about UK politics and social news.