Day In Court

Spanish Court To Consider Paternity Claims Against Former King

High court to consider paternity cases against former King of Spain, report says

Srdjan Zivulovic / Reuters

The reputation of the former King of Spain, Juan Carlos, for being something of a playboy, has always been well known in European society.

Indeed, it is alleged by one writer that the former King has had over 1,500 lovers - and he once even made a pass at Princess Diana (she turned him down).

Given his philandering reputation, it is perhaps unsurprising that there are several people who claim to be his offspring.

But while he was King, there was nothing that those who suspected they had royal parentage could do about it; article 56.3 of the Spanish constitution baldly states that, "The person of the King is inviolable, and not subject to responsibility."

But, amidst failing health and a welter of financial and other scandals, Juan Carlos stepped down last year in favor of his son Felipe, and now, quoting a judicial source, the Agence France Press is reporting that the Spanish Supreme Court will indeed consider two paternity suits against Juan Carlos lodged by a Spanish waiter and a Belgian housewife who both believe they are the illegitimate children of the ex-monarch.

The Spanish government rushed through legal safeguards for the former monarch after he abdicated which mean he can face legal action only in the country’s highest court, which in theory make it more difficult for cases against him to succeed.

But now, in an important development, it seems that the 10 judges comprising the civil chamber of the nation's highest court will reportedly consider the applications filed by Spanish waiter Alberto Sola Jimenez and Belgian housewife Ingrid Jeanne Sartiau early next year.

They both believe Juan Carlos is their father.

Sola Jimenez and Sartiau underwent DNA tests in June 2012 that showed there was a 91 percent chance that they had one parent in common.

In an interview in 2012, Sartiau said: "My mother told me who my father was while we were watching television. An image of King Juan Carlos flashed up and she said: 'That man's your father.'"

Her research led her to Sola Jimenez.

In a recent interview with Britain's The Sunday Times, Sola Jimenez said all he wants is recognition.

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Sola Jiminez, who was adopted by peasants in Catalonia when he was eight, has claimed for years that his birth mother, the daughter of an established Spanish banking family, may have had an affair with the king before he married Queen Sofia.

If Mr Sola wins his case, he says he will not give up his job at a café in a village in northeast Spain that serves a club sandwich called The Monarch. “I am not doing this for economic reasons, but to claim some moral dignity. I feel very angry at the way I have been treated,” he told the London Times.