This Is King Juan Carlos' Youngest Daughter, Infanta Cristina

Being the daughter of a king means you're already thrust into the limelight as a young child. Infanta Cristina de Borbón, also referred to as Princess Cristina, is the daughter of the former King of Spain, Juan Carlos I. Her time in the royal spotlight has been nothing short of dramatic. In recent years, Princess Cristina has lived through a multitude of scandals that left her ostracized from her family and her duchess title stripped. 

While growing up, the princess was adored by many, but her marriage to Iñaki Urdangarin soon made the public turn on her. Alongside her father's corruption scandals, many blame her for the public's relationship with the royals turning sour. Due to her association with her husband, her image has become synonymous with corruption. This has likely prompted her brother, King Felipe VI, to strategically distance himself from her. Despite being family, Princess Cristina has a dark cloud of bad publicity over her head. 

It's never easy being a princess, but it's even harder to avoid scandal while living in the limelight. Today, she is sixth in line to the throne, and is quietly trying to rebuild her life and image. Here's everything you need to know about her.

Her impressive background

As a child, Princess Cristina had the world at her feet and the talent to make a name for herself. The daughter of King Juan Carlos I had an affinity for sports, and even made a splash as a professional athlete. The princess is a former Olympian who competed in the 1988 Seoul Olympics. Just like her younger brother, she was a proud member of Spain's sailing team. During the opening ceremony, she was given the honor of being the flag-bearer for Spain. Her love for sailing continued on as she served as the president of the International Foundation for Disabled Sailing. 

Despite her love for sailing, she chose not to pursue a career in sports. In fact, the princess decided to study in school — and made history while doing so. According to Digital Journal, she was one of the first women in the Spanish royal family to achieve a degree. She studied political science at Complutense University of Madrid, and later attended New York University, where she received her masters degree in international relations.

She found love at the Olympics

The Olympics is a global event where the greatest athletes in the world gather in one place to compete against one another. It's one of the most exciting and entertaining events in sports — and it's also where Princess Cristina first crossed paths with a man she would later marry. 

At the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Iñaki Urdangarin arrived at the games hoping to win a medal for Spain as a handball player, per NPR. Urdangarian would go on to win a bronze medal from the event. However, that wasn't the only thing he won — he also caught the eye of Princess Cristina. And the rest was royal history. 

Things moved quickly for the young couple, and in 1997, the two had a lavish wedding in Barcelona. According to CNN, the televised wedding was watched in nearly 40 countries and had a royal guest list. The princess walked down the aisle wearing the gorgeous lace veil previously worn by her great-grandmother, Queen Victoria Eugenie. In her hair was a vintage floral tiara. As Express noted, the dazzling tiara was a gift given to her mother when she married former King Juan Carlos I.

Her ex-husband's shocking embezzlement scandal

In 2013, Princess Cristina found herself in a scandal that many weren't expecting. Her husband Iñaki Urdangarin and his business associates were accused of embezzling over $8 million through his non-profit organization, per NPR. The embezzled money allegedly went to a real estate firm that the couple owned. Investigators accused the couple of using the company's funds to pay for their lavish lifestyle. 

The princess was ordered to appear in court, and her personal finances were made public. Her tax returns were subpoenaed during the investigations, per Los Angeles Times. In 2017, the explosive investigation and trial resulted in Urdangarin being found guilty of tax fraud, tax evasion, embezzlement, and corruption. The court sentenced him to six years and three months in prison, per NBC News. His association with the royal family caused a great deal of embarrassment for them. After this scandal, the Spanish media began openly mocking them, and the public lost faith in them.

On the other hand, Princess Cristina was given a break. She was acquitted of tax fraud, but was ordered to pay a $280,000 civil responsibility fine. Despite her lenient punishment, being associated with this trial did severe damage to her public image. 

She was forced to speak out in court

In 2016, Princess Cristina was forced to head to court and face the music. She was charged with two counts of tax fraud and was facing up to eight years in prison. As the first Spanish royal to face trial, everyone tuned in to hear her defend herself against the charges and to see if she would stick by her husband. Iñaki Urdangarin was facing a 19-year sentence for allegedly laundering millions. Princess Cristina's highly-awaited testimony was broadcasted live on Spanish TV, and she was bombarded with questions about her personal finances by an anti-corruption group. 

The evidence presented to the court showed the couple spending $17,000 on a vacation and $1,500 on wine, per The Los Angeles Times. The princess legally refused to answer questions from the anti-corruption group, and instead only addressed her lawyer. When she finally spoke, she explained that she was mostly in the dark about the family finances. "At that time my children were very small and we were very busy," She answered. "[My husband] was in charge of the family expenses. I didn't get involved in that." Despite the mess her husband's financial mishandling put her in, the princess declared her loyalty to him in court. She testified that she believed in his innocence.

The anti-corruption group's case against her fell apart when the group's leader was accused of extortion. According to The Guardian, the leader allegedly asked the princess's lawyer for money in exchange for dropping the case.

Her brother stripped her of her duchess title

Heavy is the head that wears the crown. When King Felipe VI took over the crown after his father's abdication in 2014, the family was embroiled in scandal. Former King Juan Carlos I lost the approval of Spaniards after a controversial trip to Botswana that involved elephant hunting and an alleged mistress, per The New Yorker. On top of that, the tax evasion scandal involving Princess Cristina and her husband left the royal family with bad publicity and even criminal allegations. 

In an effort to regain the public's trust and restore the family's image, King Felipe made a move that shocked everyone. As his sister was gearing up to be the first-ever royal in Spain to stand trial, he publicly announced he was stripping her of her duchess title. According to NBC News, the title of Duchess of Palma de Mallorca was previously given to her in 1997 by her father when she married Iñaki Urdangarin. 

According to the Associated Press, unlike the public, the princess wasn't shocked by the news. Her lawyer claimed it was her who suggested it. She reportedly wrote a letter to her brother asking for the title to be removed. However, the palace claimed King Felipe already had his mind made up before her letter arrived, and broke the news to his sister over the phone.

She moved to Switzerland to escape the spotlight

After the public humiliation following the embezzlement and corruption scandal involving her husband, Princess Cristina found herself at a crossroads. According to The Guardian, the couple was forced to sell their Barcelona mansion to pay for their court bonds. As their personal finances and alleged corruption played out in the public, it brought more embarrassment to the royal family. After selling the family home, the princess left Barcelona in shame. With her four children in tow, she headed to Geneva, in a move meant to bring her more privacy and allow King Felipe to distance himself from the scandal. 

While laying low in Switzerland, the princess began working for a charity there, per The Herald Sun. Her husband, Inaki Urdangarin, remained in Spain as he was being investigated. In 2018, while her husband was appealing his six-year jail sentence, the princess reportedly attempted to leave Switzerland and move to Portugal. This would have allowed her to visit him more frequently while he was in prison. 

The idea didn't go over too well with King Felipe, who reportedly banned his sister from making the move. "Some royal assessors were sent to evaluate the idea but Felipe stopped it," a source close to the royals told The Times. "He thought she would be an embarrassment." This made it clear that King Felipe calls all the shots.

The cheating scandal that made waves

Despite the humiliating corruption scandal that resulted in Infanta Cristina de Borbon being stripped of her duchess title and her husband serving time in prison, the couple remained a strong unit. They stuck by each other's side, and were devoted to their four children. However, in 2022, the couple found their names in the headlines once again — and this time, a cheating scandal erupted. 

According to Hello Magazine, it all started when Iñaki Urdangarin was spotted holding hands with a mystery woman by a Spanish tabloid. Sources close to Infanta Cristina claimed she wasn't surprised by the news of the mystery woman. However, fans of the couple were shocked when the woman was revealed to be his colleague, and Urdangarin admitted to the affair. "These things happen," he told the press (via Express). "It is a difficulty that we will manage with the utmost tranquillity and together as we have always done." 

The couple's son Pablo made a rare public comment about the scandal, telling the press, "We are all going to love each other the same." Days later his mother announced she was separating from Urdangarin after 24 years of marriage. The couple later released a joint statement confirming their divorce. "By mutual agreement, we have decided to break off our marriage," the statement read, per The Times. "Our commitment to our children remains intact. Since this is a private decision we ask the utmost respect of all those around us."

Her husband's leaked emails revealed family drama

Most families never have to worry about their drama making it to the press. At most, family drama usually stays on Facebook. For royal families, their feuds are usually rumored in the press and are quickly denied to avoid drama. However, the royal family of Spain had a hard time denying a feud was brewing between them when the evidence was leaked. In 2013, emails between Inaki Urdangarin and his wife Princess Cristina, among others, were leaked to the press. In those emails, Urdangarin endlessly mocks King Felipe's wife, Queen Letizia. The emails date back to 2003 long before he took over the throne. As The Guardian reported, Urdangarin made several crude remarks about her in the emails, including one joke that she was having a "royal orgasm." 

Urdangarin tried to get ahead of the scandal by petitioning the court to prevent them from being leaked. However, his attempt was unsuccessful, and the emails caught everyone's attention. As King Felipe took over the throne, it became apparent that an effort was made to distance themselves from Princess Cristina and the scandals involving Urdangarin. Their names were even scrubbed on the royal website; only the king's family is mentioned. 

In 2022, reports circulated about Queen Letizia wanting to keep her daughters away from Princess Cristina and her sister Elena. According to Express, The Queen has been hyper-focused on ensuring her daughters have a good image. She reportedly doesn't want them becoming an influencer like their cousin, Victoria Federica.

Her four children live a private life

Over the years, it seems like Princess Cristina and Inaki Urdangarin have never been able to avoid public scrutiny. Despite their numerous controversies, their four children have managed to live a private life. Not much of their life is known to the public, but from what we do know, they seem to be doing well for themselves. 

22-year-old Pablo Urdangarin has followed in his famous father's footsteps. After attending school in Geneva, Pablo joined the Barcelona handball team. During a rare interview, the son credited his parents for teaching him the importance of balancing athletics and academia. "I've always had my parents tell me that it's very important because you never know when something might happen or when your sports career might end," he told BarçaTv (via SportsFinding). With an interest in sports, Pablo studied sports management at the University of Barcelona.

The three other children live outside of the spotlight. The youngest and only girl of the bunch, Irene, lives with her mother in Switzerland. The eldest son, Juan studied International Relations and Economics, and currently splits his time between London and Madrid. Miguel also lives in London and studied Marine Science. According to RoyalFamily.News, their lavish lifestyle reportedly costs their mother $16,000 a month.