MADRID (AP) — A British court ruled Thursday that royal immunity laws do not protect Spain’s former king, Juan Carlos I, in a lawsuit for alleged harassment filed by his ex-lover.
High Court Justice Matthew Nicklin said that because the claim involves Juan Carlos’ private acts in the aftermath of a romantic relationship, he does not have legal immunity under either Spanish or British law.
Corinna Larsen, a Danish socialite and businesswoman who lives in Monaco and London, was the unofficial partner of Juan Carlos for years, but the couple split amid increased media and public scrutiny in Spain.
Juan Carlos stepped down as king in 2014, allowing his son to become King Felipe VI.
In 2020, after Larsen and Juan Carlos became subjects of judicial investigations for opaque financial dealings, including assets kept in tax havens, she sued the former monarch, accusing him of allegedly orchestrating threats and ordering unlawful covert and overt surveillance starting in 2012.
Larsen has asked the court for a restraining order against Juan Carlos, as well as compensation for mental health treatment costs.
Robin Rathmell of Kobre & Kim, the law firm representing Larsen, said Thursday’s ruling demonstrated that Juan Carlos “cannot hide behind position, power, or privilege” to avoid the lawsuit.
“This is the first step on the road to justice; the appalling facts of this case will finally be brought before the court,” Rathmell said in a statement.
Juan Carlos’ Spanish lawyers declined to comment on the London court’s ruling.
The former monarch has been based in the United Arab Emirates since 2020. He recently announced his desire to return to Spain for sporadic visits after prosecutors at home and in Switzerland found no evidence of financial misbehavior that would fall outside royal immunity laws.
Juan Carlos, 84, has retained the title of “King Emeritus” since he abdicated. Felipe has tried to shield his own reign from the scandals affecting his father and other members of the royal family.
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