King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain continued to put on a united front amid the ongoing scandal surrounding former King Juan Carlos as they visited the island of Ibiza today.
The royal couple looked cool in cotton as they paid a visit to the Monographic Museum and Necropolis of ‘Puig des Molins’, said to be the home of the goddess Tanit and the best preserved necropolis in the Mediterranean.
Their trip coincided with the Spanish royal palace confirming the 82-year-old ex-king is residing in the United Arab Emirates, having left his homeland earlier this month after it emerged his finances are under investigation in a major corruption probe.
Juan Carlos is believed to be staying with his ‘most faithful friend for the past 40 years’, 70-year-old Mallorcan interior designer Marta Gaya, in a £10,000-a-night presidential suite at the Emirates Palace Hotel.
In a surprise move, Juan Carlos announced on August 3 that he was leaving Spain to prevent his personal affairs from undermining his son King Felipe VI’s reign, but did not say where he would be going.
King Juan Carlos has denied any wrongdoing and claims he is available should prosecutors need to interview him.
As the news of Juan Carlos’s whereabouts were confirmed, Queen Letizia was pictured cutting an elegant figure today as usual, wearing a breezy white ruffled maxi dress featuring frills and lace detailing with her classic espadrilles and a high ponytail. King Felipe looked equally casual in a matching cotton shirt and slacks.
The pair both wore protective face masks and kept their distance from others as they visited the usually busy tourist hot spot.
Ibiza is just a short boat ride away from the family’s annual holiday destination of Mallorca.
Crown Princess Leonor, 14, and Infanta Sofia, 13, did not appear to have joined their parents for the day trip.
This could be due to an unfortunate leg injury that left Sofia bandaged up and needing a crutch after an accident early on in the holiday.
The start of the family trip was also tainted by King Juan Carlos, who abdicated in 2014 after nearly 40 years in power, announcing he was leaving Spain amid the aforementioned controversy.
King Felipe VI has not publicly spoken about his father’s departure earlier this month.
Spanish authorities are investigating whether Juan Carlos received a secret commission for helping to win a £5.5 billion Saudi rail deal, after his former mistress made the allegations privately.
German Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein has been placed under investigation in relation to audio recordings of a meeting between herself and retired Spanish police commissioner José Manuel Villarejo at her London home in 2015.
The investigation into the conversation was initially closed in 2018, but it was reopened in July after new evidence emerged, with police discovering other copies of the conversation.
The royal palace had up until now refused to reveal where Juan Carlos is living, saying he would announce it himself if necessary.
While pro-monarchy Spanish daily ABC had reported that the former king had travelled to Abu Dhabi, other media singled out Portugal, where Juan Carlos spent part of his youth, or the Dominican Republic as possible destinations.
While Juan Carlos is not under formal investigation, revelations by a former mistress, German businesswoman Corinna Larsen, raise legal questions about his financial affairs which officials are looking into in Spain and Switzerland.
The suspicions centre on £77 million (85 million euros) which that late Saudi king Abdullah allegedly deposited into a Swiss bank account in 2008 to which Juan Carlos had access.
Prosecutors at Spain’s Supreme Court are looking into claims made by Larsen that Juan Carlos received kickbacks for a Saudi high-speed rail contract, which was awarded in 2011 to a consortium of Spanish companies.
The 280 mile link between Mecca and Medina was inaugurated in 2018.
Royal expert and author Pilar Eyre said last week that the former king and his wife Sofia have not shared a bedroom since she caught him with another woman on a 1976 hunting trip and she is thought to be with family in Mallorca.
She wrote in glossy Spanish magazine Lecturas: ‘The king is not alone. His faithful friend for the past 40 years is with him, the person who forgives everything, never fails him, accompanies him, comforts him.’
She added: ‘They have experienced a wonderful love affair and face their future together hand in hand.
‘Juan Carlos, who has been so courageous on other occasions, should show himself publicly with her. He owes it to her, and also to us.’
The mistress of the former king, who according to Spanish historian Amadeo Martinez Ingles has had an astonishing 5,000 lovers in his lifetime, was not named.
Pilar Eyre also claimed in her article that Juan Carlos had left Spain with just two suitcases containing only the ‘essentials.’
Several Spanish news websites have named Ms Gaya as the ‘friend’ and the ‘love of his life.’
Juan Carlos, who has long had warm relations with the Gulf monarchies, ascended the throne in 1975 on the death of the fascist dictator Francisco Franco and ruled for 38 years before abdicating in favour of his son Felipe VI in June 2014.
He was a popular figure for decades, playing a key role in the democratic transition from the Franco dictatorship which ruled Spain from 1939-1975.
A majority of Spaniards, 56.2 percent, feel his decision to move abroad is ‘misguided’, according to a poll of 802 people published Sunday in the daily ABC, with only 25.4 percent saying it was the right step.
An even greater number of Spaniards, 60.9 percent, believe his self-imposed exile is harmful for his son, the current King Felipe VI, according to the poll of 802 people carried out August 10-14.
Since ascending to the throne in 2014, King Felipe VI has since taken steps to improve the monarchy’s image, such as imposing a ‘code of conduct’ on royals.
Earlier this year he stripped his father of his annual allowance of nearly 200,000 euros after new details of allegedly shady financial dealings emerged.