Spain's King Felipe has issued a decree stripping his sister Infanta Cristina of her title as Duchess of Palma, the palace has announced. The royal is currently facing trial on charges of tax evasion, and the decision was made to revoke her right to use the title. The decree was signed by her brother Felipe VI and Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and came into effect at midnight on 11 June.
Cristina's lawyer stressed that his client is "in complete agreement" with her brother's decision, and that she comunicated her desire to give her title voluntarily "days ago".
In December, a judge ruled that Cristina could be tried on two counts of being an accomplice to tax fraud. She is the first member of the Spanish royals to be tried in open court, and could face up to six years in prison.
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King Felipe of Spain with his sister Infanta Cristina
Infanta Cristina stands accused of taking part in tax evasion in relation to business dealings by her husband, the former Olympic handball player Iñaki Urdangarin. He is accused of exploiting his royal connections to win contracts and embezzle millions in public funds along with a former business partner.
The 49-year-old, who is the youngest daughter of former king Juan Carlos, is expected to sit in the dock with 16 other suspects over allegations relating to business dealings in 2007 and 2008. Both she and Iñaki deny any wrongdoing; at a previous hearing Cristina answered "I don't know" to many of the questions or said that she trusted her husband to handle their financial affairs.
Infanta Cristina is facing trial for tax fraud
Infanta Cristina is sixth-in-line to the throne. Her 1997 wedding in Barcelona to Spanish sports star Iñaki was a fairytale occasion, with the Infanta given away by her father Juan Carlos who offered on them the title of Duke and Duchess of Palma de Mallorca. They went on to have four children together, and lived an idyllic lifestyle as member of Spanish high society.
Their multi-million euro mansion has since been impounded by the courts, and Cristina was notably absent from the ceremonies to mark her brother Felipe's ascension to the Spanish throne in June 2014.