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King Felipe strips his scandal-hit sister of title

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King Felipe strips his scandal-hit sister of title
The Infanta Cristina leaves court after a hearing in Palma de Mallorca. Photo: Jaime Reina / AFP
08:46 CEST+02:00
The Spanish King stripped his sister Cristina of the title of the Duchess of Palma in the wake of her implication in a scandal that has damaged the reputation of the royal family.

King Felipe VI will formally issue the decree this morning.

"The Official Journal of the state will (on Friday) publish a royal decree by which His Majesty the King will revoke the use of the title of Duchess of Palma de Mallorca by Her Royal Highness the Infanta Cristina," the palace said in a statement on Thursday evening.

Cristina, 49, stands accused of taking part in tax evasion by her husband, the former Olympic handball player Inaki Urdangarin.

A judge ruled in December that she must stand trial on two counts of accessory to tax fraud, making her the first member of the Spanish royal family to be sent to the dock. No date has been set for her trial.

Both Cristina and Urdangarin have suffered a dramatic fall from grace since they married in 1997 in a lavish ceremony in Barcelona and were bestowed the titles of Duke and Duchess of Palma by Felipe's father, king Juan Carlos, who unexpectedly abdicated last year.

The couple's multi-million-euro mansion has been impounded by the courts and Cristina was notably absent from ceremonies marking Felipe's ascension to the throne in June 2014.

Urdangarin, 47, is accused along with a former business partner of creaming off six million euros ($6.6 million) in public funds from contracts awarded to Noos, a charitable foundation which he chaired.

Cristina's lawyers say she is innocent of any wrongdoing and that she trusted her husband to handle their financial affairs.

The corruption controversy has outraged Spaniards and helped sour the last years of the reign of Juan Carlos, who gave up the throne after nearly four decades hoping his son could freshen up the image of the monarchy.

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