Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein, also known as Corinna Larsen and more colloquially as princess Corinna, the person who has turned the Spanish monarchy upside down, taken king emeritus Juan Carlos I into exile and ruined the reign of his son Felipe VI, has given a succulent interview at her London residence to the BBC. In it she goes into chapter and verse on sentimental and economic matters relating to the former king that make one's hair stand on end. His contemptuous treatment of Queen Sofia, to whom he was permanently unfaithful, the marriage proposal made by Juan Carlos I to his lover, the pressure on the Spanish head of state to abdicate in 2014 both from the establishment as well as the family, the death threats she received and which she attributes to the Spanish secret service, the CNI, and the transfer of 76 million dollars made to her as a gift by the emeritus, according to her, as a way of demonstrating his love to her.
Corinna ends the interview with two final barbed comments which are devastating: if she had to return the money, she should not be the only one to do so, because, according to her, over the last 40 years the Spanish monarchy has acted as a family business with a clear modus operandi and consequently the whole royal family should have to do the same with the money they have received. Second, a projection of how the money is distributed abroad: "There will be hundreds of accounts in other jurisdictions."
If we were not talking about a head of state, his cheating, his lies, his sprees, his commissions would be of limited interest. But it is not so. From the starting point of a resented love affair, a breach is opening up in the recent history of Spain, its Democratic Transition once considered exemplary and the corruption that has accompanied the position of head of state. A dysfunctional family, united only by ambition and power. The emeritus in exile supposedly accompanied by a mistress; his wife, queen Sofia, on holiday in Palma and sharing confidences with her Greek family; his son-in-law, Iñaki Urdangarín, in the Brieva women's prison serving his sentence; his daughter, Cristina de Borbón, firmly married despite the opposition of her family and waiting for Urdangarín between Geneva, Madrid, Barcelona and Bidart; princess Elena always alone walking off her grief at the exile of her father (she is the only one who seems really afflicted) and the current monarchs enduring the increasingly-common street protests.
Corinna Larsen has put an expiry date on the monarchy, according to some. It is possible. But what is certain is that the royal path today is, above all, a path of thorns.