How Queen Letizia suffered same family tragedy as Queen Máxima 11 years ago

By Ainhoa Barcelona

Queen Máxima of the Netherlands is "shocked and devastated" following the news that her sister Ines Zorreguieta has committed suicide, the Dutch royal palace has said. And while the queen will, naturally, be heartbroken, Máxima may be able to find solace in her friend Queen Letizia of Spain. The Spanish royal sadly suffered the same family tragedy eleven years ago when her sister Erika Ortiz took her own life.

At the time, Letizia, who was six months pregnant with her second child, was distraught by the news that her younger sister had died aged 31. She was visibly emotional and tearful at Erika's funeral and paused for a moment following the service in Madrid to acknowledge the support shown by members of the public. "Thank you to everyone who has shown sympathy following the death of my little sister," Letizia said in February 2007.

Queen Letizia pictured at her sister Erika's funeral in 2007. Photo: © Getty Images

The visibly distressed royal was supported throughout by her husband King Felipe and her father-in-law King Juan Carlos. Juan Carlos' wife Queen Sofia was on an official visit to Indonesia, while Letizia's other sister Telma was unable to make it back to Spain in time for the funeral. Telma, who worked for a humanitarian organisation in the Philippines, was in Manila.

Erika, who shied away from the spotlight, worked as an interior designer for a TV production company. She had recently separated from her sculptor partner, Antonio Vigo, with whom she shared a six-year-old daughter, Carla.

On Wednesday, Queen Máxima of the Netherlands was delivered the devastating news that her sister, who was 33, had died. As expected, she will not attend her scheduled engagements this week and will not join her husband King Willem-Alexander on their tour of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia next week. The Argentinian-born royal is expected to fly to Buenos Aires imminently to be with her family and to attend her sister's funeral.

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