Former Spanish King Hints at Return to Public Life after Winning UK Harassment Case

REUTERS/Miguel Vidal/File Photo
Spain’s former King Juan Carlos arrives at Sanxenxo during his second visit to the country since departing to Abu Dhabi in August 2020 after a number of scandals shook the Spanish Royal House, in Sanxenxo, Spain, April 19, 2023.

LONDON (Reuters) – Spain’s former King Juan Carlos hinted at a return to public life on Friday after he won a bid to throw out a 126 million pound ($154 million) London lawsuit brought by his ex-lover, who accused him of a campaign of harassment.

The 85-year-old ex-monarch was being sued by Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn, who alleged Juan Carlos orchestrated threats, surveillance and intimidation from 2012.

After Sayn-Wittgenstein’s case was thrown out at London’s High Court on Friday, Juan Carlos – who denies ever harassing his former lover – welcomed the decision, which a spokesperson said “unsurprisingly confirms his innocence”.

Juan Carlos’ spokesperson said in a statement: “Today’s decision, favourable to His Majesty, re-establishes the conditions necessary for further public appearances.”

The former king moved to Abu Dhabi in 2020 under a cloud of scandals which shook the Royal House and has not participated in any official act with the Spanish royal family since.

The Spanish royal household declined to comment on Juan Carlos’ statement on Friday.

Juan Carlos’ spokesperson, asked about the statement, said: “His Majesty is no longer facing any legal proceedings, thus re-establishing the conditions necessary for further public appearances, as he recently had the opportunity to do at the sailing competitions in which he took part, for example.”

Sayn-Wittgenstein claims Juan Carlos gave her 65 million euros ($68.2 million) as a gift, to hide the money from the Spanish tax authorities, and she was then harassed by Juan Carlos or people acting on his behalf when she would not give him access to it.

Her lawyers also said a book alleging Princess Diana was killed by British intelligence was left in Sayn-Wittgenstein’s Swiss apartment when she was out, gunshots were fired at CCTV cameras outside her home and her mobile phone was monitored.

The former monarch asked the court to throw out Sayn-Wittgenstein’s case at a hearing in July, arguing that there was no viable claim of harassment.

Judge Rowena Collins Rice ruled in his favour on Friday, saying that Sayn-Wittgenstein’s lawsuit did not contain reasonable grounds for bringing the claim.

Sayn-Wittgenstein said in a statement that she was “deeply disappointed” with the decision and was considering all options.