by Scott Mehl
Infanta Cristina of Spain (Cristina Federica Victoria Antonia de la Santísima Trinidad de Borbón y Grecia) was born on June 13, 1965 in Madrid. She is the second child of King Juan Carlos of Spain and Princess Sophia of Greece and Denmark. Her siblings are Infanta Elena, Duchess of Lugo, and King Felipe VI of Spain.
After completing her secondary education at the Santa María del Camino School, she studied political science at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, graduating in 1989. She was the first woman in the Spanish royal family to receive a university degree. The following year, she earned a Masters degree in International Relations from New York University.
Following an internship with UNESCO in Paris, she moved to Barcelona and began working for La Caixa Foundation in 1993, coordinating exhibitions. In 1997, she was appointed the coordinator of the Program for International Cooperations, and in 2005, became the Director of the Social Area of the foundation. In 2009, when she and her family moved to Washington DC, she was made Director of the International Department, fostering collaborations with various international organizations. The family returned to Spain in 2012, and in mid-2013, she and her children moved to Geneva, where she coordinates programs with agencies of the United Nations.
Like her father and brother, Infanta Cristina is an avid sailor. She was a member of the Spanish Sailing Team at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, where she was also the Spanish flag-bearer in the opening ceremonies (a role her younger brother would take four years later in Barcelona). She serves as President of the International Foundation for Disabled Sailing.
Cristina married Iñaki Urdangarín Liebaert, a former professional and Olympic handball player, on October 4, 1997 in Barcelona. At the time, her father gave her the personal title Duchess of Palma de Mallorca. She and her husband have four children:
- Juan Urdangarín y de Borbón (1999)
- Pablo Urdangarín y de Borbón (2000)
- Miguel Urdangarín y de Borbón (2002)
- Irene Urdangarín y de Borbón (2005)
In late 2011, Cristina’s husband was accused of diverting public funds for his own benefit, through a non-profit organization. After it was discovered that large sums of money were being sent to several foreign accounts, it was announced that Iñaki would no longer be participating in any functions of the Royal Family. Iñaki was charged with embezzlement, fraud, breach of trust, forgery, and money laundering. While Cristina moved to Geneva in mid-2013 with her children, her husband remained in Barcelona to address the charges against him. In January 2014, initial charges were placed against Infanta Cristina, accusing her of money laundering and tax fraud. She was called to testify in February 2014, and in June 2014, formal charges were filed.
In June 2015, King Felipe VI of Spain formally stripped his sister Cristina, of her title of Duchess of Palma de Mallorca. Neither Cristina, nor her husband, Iñaki Urdangarin, are permitted to use the title any further.
The trial began in January 2016 and on February 17, 2017, Infanta Cristina was acquitted of tax fraud and money laundering and her husband Iñaki Urdangarín was found guilty of embezzling about 6 million euros in public funds for sporting events through his nonprofit foundation and of political corruption by using his former title of Duke of Palma de Mallorca as the husband of the Infanta Cristina. Urdangarín was sentenced to six years and three months in prison.
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